Dana Johannsen is the NZ Herald's chief sports reporter

Netball: Magic without Silver Ferns pair for Swifts clash

Jo Harten will captain the Magic in the absence of Leana de Bruin. Photo/Getty.
Jo Harten will captain the Magic in the absence of Leana de Bruin. Photo/Getty.

The Magic will be without two of their most experienced stars for their second-round ANZ Championship clash against the NSW Swifts this weekend.

English import Jo Harten will captain the side this weekend, with Silver Ferns Leana de Bruin and Grace Rasmussen unable to make the trip across the Tasman due to injury.

De Bruin continues to be troubled by a foot inury that ruled her out of Monday night's one-goal loss to the Central Pulse. Rasmussen meanwhile sustained to an injury to her calf during the preseason, and did not look comfortable in her first half appearance for the Magic in their season opener.

The loss of the pair comes at an inopportune time for the Waikato-Bay of Plenty team, with the side needing all the firepower they can muster against the impressive Swifts line-up, which features former Magic captain Laura Langman.

The Swifts produced the stand-out performance in the opening round of the transtasman league, demolishing the Melbourne Vixens by 15 goals to assert themselves as one of the early title favourites.

Harten said the loss of the experienced duo is significant, but she believes her young side can step up in their absence.

"It will be a case of everyone lifting and doing that extra one per cent and having seven leaders out on court really working together."

"The [NSW Swifts] were very slick against the Vixens last week and it was always going to take a team performance anyway, and the Magic have always been a really strong team."

Young midcourter Ariana Cable-Dixon has been called into the team as a temporary replacement for Rasmussen.

Cable-Dixon, a member of Waikato-Bay of Plenty Beko Netball League team, was called into the Magic line-up for the ANZ Championship pre-season shootout, and impressed with her speed and fearless drives.

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