Sunday 30 April, 2023


Christchurch Arena, Christchurch

Full time MG Mystics 74 – Trident Homes Tactix 50


The MG Mystics have dominated their top of the table rivals the Trident Homes Tactix by a hefty 24-point margin at Christchurch Arena, dedicating their round 9 victory to late former Silver Ferns coach Taini Jamison OBE who passed away on Friday.

Captain Sulu Fitzpatrick made her return to the court, starting at goal-keeper, following five weeks out with a knee injury. Fitzpatrick added instant impact and experience to what was once again a near full-strength Mystics squad with Michaela Sokolich-Beatson also back in the mix after sitting the last game out with illness.

It was expected to be a close-fought battle with the two sides sitting at the top of the ladder and with the best attacking and defensive records in the league, however the Mystics put on a clinic to redeem last week’s tough loss to the Magic in extended extra-time.

The Mystics shooters finished the game with an impressive 94% shooting accuracy compared to 86% from the Tactix, with Grace Nweke sinking a remarkable 64 out of 66 shots under immense pressure from on-form Tactix goal-defence Karin Burger.

Mid-court pairing Peta Toeava and Tayla Earle put in a colossal shift to deliver crisp, clean ball to their shooters at a blistering pace which the Tactix simply failed to match.

Fitzpatrick combined superbly with fellow experienced defender Phoenix Karaka to smother the Tactix shooters and create some crucial turnover opportunities that allowed the Mystics to build upon their lead each quarter.

It was a much better start from the Mystics who have recently failed to fire in the opening quarter, with the team earning an eight-point lead at the end of the first 15 minutes to set the tone for the match.

Carys Stythe replaced Fitzpatrick at goal-keeper in the second quarter and once again displayed precision timing on her jump to deny the Tactix shooters a chance at a clean shot.

Despite Karin Burger’s best efforts, Toeava’s feeds into Nweke proved almost unstoppable as the Mystics feeders made the most of absent Tactix goal-keeper Jane Watson who was out with an ankle injury.

Centre Tayla Earle showed outstanding athleticism, keeping a loose ball in court with a mid-air tip to Nweke and coming away with an intercept and two deflections in amongst her bread and butter bringing the ball through court.

By half-time, the Mystics had extended their lead to 12 points to achieve their biggest ever half-time score of 39.

Burger came out firing in the third quarter determined to see her side back in the game, picking off intercepts and deflections of which the Tactix failed to convert into points.

The Mystics defenders answered straight back with Stythe and Karaka both hunting for ball and Earle also coming up with a turnover to edge further away from the scrambling Tactix.

With a 15-point lead going into the final stanza, the Mystics did anything but ease up on their opponents as they continued to move the ball through court with discipline, speed and accuracy.

Fitzpatrick returned for the fourth and final quarter, alongside Katie Te Ao who replaced Sokolich-Beatson at wing-defence, Dani Binks who came on at goal-attack for Filda Vui and Claire O’Brien who replaced Earle in the centre bib.

By the final whistle the Mystics had posted 74 points to the Tactix’s 50, sending a strong message to the competition heading into the business end of the season.