Magic 49 Mystics 45

Both New Zealand franchises have struggled across eight ANZ championship rounds in an Australian-dominated competition, but the Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic triumphed 49-45 in a riveting local derby.

A tight tussle emanated until the final quarter when the Magic stretched to a six-goal advantage. The Northern Mystics hauled it back to a four-goal deficit by the final whistle.

Highlights included the frenetic distribution of the Magic's Samantha Sinclair and the defence of the Mystics' Anna Harrison.

Sinclair directed possession into the shooting circle as if potting snooker balls in a hurry. The centre topped the match table for goal assists, notching 12 alongside her wing attack Grace Rasmussen. The ball skills of wing defence Jamie-Lee Price highlighted the overall strength of their mid-court, notably with a final quarter intercept to turn the match in the Magic's favour.

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Similarly, Harrison was a Venus flytrap whenever the ball came within grasp, notching seven deflections, four intercepts and three rebounds.

The sides were locked at 13-13 after the first quarter before the Mystics sneaked ahead 26-24 at halftime. The Magic seized a 36-34 advantage late in the third quarter which they extended late.

Little differentiated the shooting ends. Mystics goal shooter Cathrine Tuivaiti was the most accurate. None of her 16 shots missed.

However, the sheer volume of possession was enough to turn the match in the Magic's favour. They had 58 shots on goal compared to the Mystics' 49.

With the ANZ championship set to become defunct by season's end, the contest was also played in the shadow of speculation as to where players might ply their futures.

With the prospect of an extra Netball Northern franchise on the horizon, New Zealand derbies will offer extra incentives for local players as the competition advances.

The result takes the Magic to four points on the table, overleaping the Central Pulse who play the Southern Steel on Monday.

The Mystics will stay second among the New Zealand teams unless the Mainland Tactic overcome the New South Wales Swifts tomorrow.