Sunday 14 May, 2023


TSB Arena, Wellington

Full time MG Mystics 56 – Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse 62


The Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse have booked their place in the finals series, at the same time denying the MG Mystics theirs by delivering a heart-breaking six-point win in round 11 of the ANZ Premiership this afternoon.

Finishing just one point shy of a bonus point means the Mystics’ finals hopes now rest on their double-header next weekend versus the Robinhood Stars and the Trident Homes Tactix.

Mystics captain Sulu Fitzpatrick wore her married name Gray on the back of her dress for the first time as a heartfelt tribute to her late mother-in-law on Mother’s Day. Despite marrying last year, Sulu has chosen to play out her last season of ANZ Premiership netball under her maiden name but wanted to honour her husband’s family on a particularly poignant day during her swansong year.

Cheered on by a sold-out crowd at TSB Arena in Wellington, the Pulse stormed out to a 10-goal lead in the first quarter.

Pulse shooting pair Amelia Walmsley and Tiana Metuarau were instantly on-form. Metuarau was able to find a direct line to the hoop through some crafty play and fancy footwork, while Walmsley weathered some heavy pressure from Mystics defensive duo Sulu Gray and Phoenix Karaka to maintain a good shooting percentage.

A fierce physical battle was brewing down the other end too between Mystics goal-shooter Grace Nweke and her Silver Ferns team-mate Pulse goal-keeper Kelly Jury. The Pulse’s Maddy Gordon and Fa’amu Ioane did well to keep the Mystics’ feeders off the circle, forcing the long ball into Nweke for Jury to pick off.

The Mystics managed to rein in the Pulse in the second quarter, reducing the deficit to just six points by half-time. Mystics wing-defence Michaela Sokolich-Beatson was relentless, picking up a number of intercepts and deflections to hinder the Pulse’s attacking flow.

Mystics playmaker Peta Toeava reached into her bag of tricks to deliver some great feeds into her shooters, including a brilliant no-look pass that looked to provide a much-needed shift in momentum.

Buoyed by the comeback, the Mystics started the third quarter strong by clawing the score back to within three for a period thanks to the fresh legs of Katie Te Ao who replaced Tayla Earle at centre and Carys Stythe who pulled on the goal-keeper bib in place of Sulu Gray.

But it wasn’t for long as the Pulse responded by going into another gear, led by Jury and Gordon who both pulled off some impressive turn-overs in the Mystics’ shooting third.

The Mystics struggled to find their usual silky-smooth connections in the shooting end, with the long-feed into Nweke not looking to be a safe option on Jury’s watch.

With Metuarau shooting at 100% and Walmsley putting up a mammoth 57 attempts at goal, there were few opportunities for the Mystics to recoup the lead.

With just seconds remaining, the Pulse put the nail in the coffin by capitalising on a turn-over to put the Mystics’ hopes of a bonus point out of reach and claiming the top of the table spot with a final score of 62 to 56.