Bragging rights in the Kaierau derby went to the A1 team after they pulled away from their A2 brethren 60-40 in the second round of Whanganui Premier A1 at Springvale Stadium on Monday night.

Kaierau A2 are new to the top level this season, yet there is no cross-pollination between the squads, save for having also faced each other in pre-season.

They train on different nights and, in the case of squad injuries, both teams would have to look to their third-tier side, who play Saturday netball, to find replacements.

Wearing grey bibs to distinguish friend from foe, Kaierau A2 also play a very different attacking game to A , working the long passes from the midcourt channel into the shooting circle.


Wing attack Rachel O'Connor and centre Georgia Walford were able to find shooters Mikayla Pihema-Taiaroa and He-Mari Simon over the top several times, leaving the A1 back-court defenders scrambling.

It was invention vs drilled fundamentals, as A1 sought to connect with shorter passes on attack and working goal shoot Rebekah Alabaster into gaps, while having quicker turnarounds to score on both possessions, although at times they over-extended too quickly.

A2 took the lead briefly with two minutes left in the first quarter, 12-11, but A1 lifted from that stage to force turnovers, with Alabaster converting under pressure, to lead 16-12, and stopped just short of another right on the buzzer.

A1 then swapped defenders, with Chaana Morgan coming on at goal keep and Hannah Kelly moving over to goal defence for Goss Suraya, and although A2 were staying with them at 19-15 and then 21-18, the attacking gaps were starting to close.

A1 wing defence Kerwyn Morgan began to impose herself with a vengeance, flying up just before A2 could reach their sweet spot just inside A1's half.

Morgan created multiple turnovers from clean intercepts, deflections, or forcing A2 into accidental contacts from reaching for the ball as she flew onto the scene.

A1 were not flawless in their execution, Alabaster and Alicia Prince putting a few shots wide, but the front-court players made A2's clearances a real burden, and from 30-22 at halftime, they now had breathing space.

A2 now made changes as Blanche Cloete and Abbey Sherman switched goal keep and defence, while Stacey Hyland came in at wing defence for Alice Badger and Olivia Hina replaced Simon at goal attack after a few key misses under pressure.

But A1 had their groove now as Morgan made another flying deflection then threw herself across court to stop it going out, while O'Connor and Walford could no longer get through with the midcourt passes.

The 36-24 scoreline rapidly became 41-26, as A2 went a solid three minutes without raising another goal, while A1 goal attack Alicia Prince linked nicely with Alabaster for a pass into space under the net for the goal shoot to run onto.

Another great Morgan steal and the writing was on the wall at 45-29 by three quarter time.

Kaierau A1 centre Kataraina Hakaraia moves the ball up court.
Kaierau A1 centre Kataraina Hakaraia moves the ball up court.

Both teams just decided to run their current lineups out till fulltime, with A1 riding their advantage to 55-38, looking to quickly get to 60 points while keeping A2 under 40.

They had all but stopped A2's long passes, which were now falling straight to A1's defenders in the circle, although the last one from Walford did reach Pihema-Taiaroa to at least put a four on the scoreboard.

Kaierau A1 coach Walter Edmonds agreed it had taken his team a little while to adjust to the A2's attacking down a different channel to his team, but he was happy overall.

"It'll take a while to get there. Second week of games."

With only a five-team Premier grade this season, Edmonds said the teams were enjoying always finishing early, with just 6.30pm matches as opposed to 7.30pm, while it allowed him to keep half an eye on Phillips Electrical WHS A1, who were having their first game on Court 1 after the opening week bye.

WHS signalled their early intentions with a 55-50 victory over defending champions Kaiwhaiki.

It is a new-look WHS lineup, with four of the players who went on the tour to Australia combining with fresh faces, having also had two games together in the Open A1 Secondary School grade on Saturdays in Manawatu.

With a quarter of the match gone WHS led 17-8, and while the more settled Kaiwhaiki lineup had closed that up to 31-25 by halftime, the schoolgirls just stepped up another notch for 46-35 heading into the final quarter.

Still, Kaiwhaiki play on heart and they should be encouraged they outshot WHS in the last 15 minutes to also raise a half century.

"Last few minutes I think we were up by 10. We probably lapsed," said WHS coach Lisa Murphy.

"A new lineup, they did really well. The new wing defence Mikayla Heki came on and was very good."

Mere Te Aroha had the bye this week.