Dana Johannsen

Dana Johannsen is the NZ Herald’s chief sports reporter

Netball: Tactix struggle against Aussies

Tactix feeders were unable to find a way past the Vixens' star defensive pairing of Geva Mentor, above, and Bianca Chatfield. Photo / Richard Robinson
Tactix feeders were unable to find a way past the Vixens' star defensive pairing of Geva Mentor, above, and Bianca Chatfield. Photo / Richard Robinson

The Tactix have suffered another heavy defeat by an Australian rival, hopelessly outclassed by the Melbourne Vixens in Christchurch last night.

After a 36-goal battering by the Fever in Perth, the Tactix returned to New Zealand last week to pull off a shock win over the experienced Central Pulse.

But they continue to look out of their depth against the Australian sides, with the a 10-9 third quarter the only high point in an otherwise ugly night for the Canterbury side.

The 67-43 defeat meant the Tactix goal differential took another big hit, which will not help their chances of lifting themselves off the foot of the ANZ Championship ladder.

Given very little chance against the powerful Vixens line-up, the Tactix battled hard for first quarter.

They did a good job of staying in touch with the visitors before a couple of mistakes - the result of poor option-taking around the shooting circle - allowed the Vixens to stretch out their lead in the final couple of minutes before the first break.

Leading 17-12 at the first break, the Vixens seized the momentum early in the second spell after racking up 11 unanswered goals.

With the Tactix feeders unable to find a way past the Vixens' star defensive pairing of Geva Mentor and Bianca Chatfield, the visitors snared a wealth of turnover ball, which was clinically converted into points down the other end of the court - Karyn Bailey and Tegan Caldwell missing just one shot at goal between them in the first half.

Heading into the third quarter the Vixens looked well in control of the match with a 36-21 lead.

But the Tactix proved they weren't done with yet, opening the period with a run of six goals, while keeping the Vixens scoreless for nearly six minutes as the shooters struggled to adjust to the new defensive pairing of Jane Watson and Zoe Walker.

Midcourters Jade Clarke also started the third quarter with a lot of energy, pitching in with a couple of crucial steals.

While the Vixens struggled to rediscover their speed and timing on attack, their defence end continued to provide them with a steady flow of ball, allowing the visitors to restore a 45-31 lead heading into the final period after a low-scoring quarter.

After their third quarter hiccups, the Vixens rediscovered their spark in the closing spell, with the Tactix defence unable to keep up with the speed of the Melbourne attack.
The Vixens landed an impressive 22 goals in the final spell, as Caldwell and Robinson ran rings around the defence.

Last night's other game between the Pulse and the Swifts in Sydney was too late for this edition.

- NZ Herald

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