Fans were treated to a fight to the death in round three of the ANZ Premiership as the top of the table Trident Homes Tactix served the second place MG Mystics their first loss of the season winning 62 to 59 at The Trusts Arena in Auckland.

The MG Mystics were quick to make a statement, turning over the Tactix centre-pass to race out to a two-goal lead right off the bat.

An almost impenetrable wall of defence through the midcourt spelled trouble for the Tactix early on, with goal-attack Te Paea Selby-Rickit having to serve as another feeder to get the ball into the shooting circle.

The Mystics showed their class on attack, bringing the ball through court at pace and finding Grace Nweke in pole position under the post. Wing-attack Peta Toeava made slick work of finding the circle edge and letting the ball go into her shooters without hesitation.

The Tactix feeders however struggled to find their target in goal shooter Ellie Bird who has rejoined the side after a two year hiatus. Centre Kimiora Poi made every effort to regain possession for her team, coming away with an impressive intercept in their defensive third and working hard to provide options on attack.

By the end of the first quarter, the Mystics had fought their way to a handy four-goal lead, up 18 to 14.

Mystics goal-keeper Carys Stythe took no time at all to warm-up, replacing Catherine Hall in the second quarter and coming away with a turnover straight away.

Hannah Glen moved into goal-attack for the Mystics, her first time coming up against her old side the Tactix. Defenders Karin Burger and Jane Watson upped the ante, making it difficult for Glen to enter the shooting circle and putting pressure on Nweke as the only option under the hoop.

The Tactix looked to relax into their rhythm later in the second quarter, finding a route through the Mystics defence and connecting with their shooters. It wasn’t enough however to eat into the Mystics’ lead which they retained heading into the second half.

The third quarter made for a much more even contest. The Tactix defence turned the heat up, with Burger and Watson shutting down Nweke in the shooting circle and Greer Sinclair making a nuisance of herself at wing-defence.

With the Mystics defensive wall still proving tough to break, Sinclair came up with her own answers firing two long-feeds into her shooters to demonstrate great vision down court.

It was a physical battle with both sides hunting for turnover ball and Watson coming away with one of her signature flying intercepts to turn the momentum in favour of the Tactix.

For the first time in the match the visitors claimed the lead and fought hard to retain the advantage into the final stanza.

The intensity was palpable in the final quarter as both sides looked to keep their winning streak alive.

With Burger and Watson keeping the pressure on in the defensive end, Nweke was forced to uncharacteristically leave her position under the post to help move the ball around.

The crowd were on their feet when Nweke came up with a surprise intercept which she then converted herself, only to leave the court moments later with a minor injury niggle.

Sensing an opportunity to build on their lead, the Tactix moved the ball through court swiftly, firing long balls into Bird who shot with laser focus under pressure.

With their winning record on the line, the Mystics threw everything at it coming up with three intercepts in minutes and clawing the deficit back to just one.

Cheered on by a roaring crowd, the Mystics showed their class under pressure to hold the Tactix to within three at the final whistle, going down 62 to 59 in their first defeat of the season.