The visiting Trident Homes Tactix have triumphed over an embattled MG Mystics winning 56 -42 to remain top of the ANZ Premiership table after eight rounds.

A full crowd at The Trusts Arena in Auckland was not quite enough to lift the MG Mystics as they looked to turn their fortunes around after a shock loss to the Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel last week.

The home side was not only struck down by illness, but injury during the round 8 battle that saw head coach Tia Winikerei forced to make constant changes to her side as they trailed the Tactix.

The match started at a frenetic pace with the Tactix managing to run away to an early three goal lead, before the Mystics were able to get on the scoreboard.

The defensive duo of Karin Burger and Jane Watson made it difficult for the Mystics to penetrate the shooting circle, while at the opposite end the Tactix found towering goal shooter Ellie Bird with relative ease.

With Mystics captain Michaela Sokolich-Beatson sidelined with illness early on, Katie Te Ao started at wing-defence and took her opportunity to produce an impressive turnover thanks to her outstanding timing and elevation.

Mystics goal-keeper Carys Stythe followed suit soon after when she came out hunting for a stunning cross-court intercept to buoy her side. Their efforts weren’t quite enough however to claw back the deficit as they entered the second quarter down 16 – 8.

The Mystics’ shooting third struggles continued into the second quarter and while feeders Peta Toeava and Tayla Earle worked frantically to deliver ball to their shooters, the defensive wall of Burger and Watson was watertight.

Training partner Dani Binks replaced Hannah Glen at goal-attack midway through and instantly looked to provide a much-needed answer in the shooting end. Binks’ movement was just enough to draw the defenders off and give Filda Vui space under the post.

Meanwhile the Tactix kept the foot on the gas, moving the ball through the court smoothly and continuing to take advantage of Ellie Bird’s strong hold under the post and Te Paea Selby-Rickit’s perfect shooting percentage to pile on the points.

With a penalty on the buzzer, Binks came up with a clutch shot right on half-time to give the home crowd something to cheer about. The Tactix entered the second half with a 12 goal lead up 31 -19.

The Mystics had to dig deep in the third quarter, losing play maker wing-attack Peta Toeava midway through with what appeared to be an injury. Head coach Tia Winikerei was forced to make a raft of changes to her already depleted line-up. Katie Te Ao moved to centre, while Tayla Earle took the wing-attack bib and Michaela Sokolich-Beatson returned to court at wing-defence. Hannah Glen returned to goal-shooter, while Filda Vui moved back into goal-attack as Dani Binks headed to the bench.

With no time to settle into new combinations, the Mystics relied on their unchanged defensive end to provide stability. Phoenix Karaka and Carys Stythe worked well together to produce precious turnover ball and keep their side in the fight. The Mystics trailed the Tactix by 15 goals heading into the final quarter down 46 – 31.

The rolling substitutions continued for the Mystics into the last stanza, with Dani Binks moving into wing-attack and Tayla Earle heading back into centre. Catherine Hall was brought on at goal-keeper, while Phoenix Karaka made a rare appearance in the wing-defence bib.

Catherine Hall came up with an intercept shortly after taking the court and looked to be immediately in sync with Cary Stythe in the defensive circle. The pair combined to produce plenty of turnover ball, however the Mystics struggled to convert it into points on the scoreboard.

The Tactix continued to apply solid pressure through court and with the Mystics finding their options limited on attack, the Tactix defenders were able to pick off ball and add to their already substantial lead.

Despite the multitude of changes, the Mystics bravely held on until the final whistle, going down 56 – 42 to remain third on the ANZ Premiership ladder.