Monday 22 May, 2023


Eventfinda Stadium, Auckland

Full time MG Mystics 64 – Trident Homes Tactix 61


The last home game of the season reached fever pitch for the MG Mystics who edged the Trident Home Tactix 64 to 61 in extra-time after a frenetic 66-minutes of phenomenal Monday night netball at Eventfinda Stadium on Auckland’s North Shore.

In a game that resembled that of a high-pressure grand-final, it was a fitting farewell for MG Mystics captain Sulu Fitzpatrick who played her second to last national league game and final home game in front of a sold-out crowd.

The Mystics looked to have the better of their southern opponents in the first quarter, leading by five at the break and playing with an energy unprecedented for a team that had played just a day earlier.

With a grand-final position all but confirmed, there was little on the line for the Mystics compared to the Tactix who had it all to play for. But the Mystics were far from complacent, playing with the vigour of a team preparing for a championship title.

The defensive pressure on both teams was evident with the amount of loose ball on offer as both sides worked tirelessly to penetrate their shooting circles.

Tactix goal-attack Te Paea Selby-Rickit was a valuable asset, utilising her mobility through court well and sinking a number of impressive long-range shots throughout the match.

The second quarter saw Jane Watson take the court at goal-keeper to combine with Karin Burger and Kate Lloyd in what was a formidable defensive line-up for the Tactix.

At the other end, Phoenix Karaka and Sulu Fitzpatrick’s connection was equally hard to penetrate with Karaka coming away with some precious turnover ball.

With Burger at wing-defence, Mystics wing-attack Peta Toeava had her work cut out for her calling on every ounce of pace and flair to break through. Toeava’s laser vision granted the Mystics shooters some exceptional ball and Nweke’s reliability in the air was a relief for fans holding their breath with every long wily feed.

The Tactix superior shooting percentage saw them take the momentum in the second quarter and come within two points of the Mystics at half-time.

Both sides entered the second half with the same furious energy as the first, moving the ball through court at speed and hunting for every turnover opportunity.

With Burger back at goal-defence and Watson remaining at goal-keeper, Nweke was under immense pressure, however managed to snatch in more signature long ball from her feeders.

Mystics centre Tayla Earle showed impeccable patience and vision, despite the close score margin which saw the Tactix come within one point for a spell.

A soaring pass into Nweke with seconds to go gave the Mystics the opportunity to gain a crucial advantage, leading by three with one quarter remaining.

It was edge-of-your-seat netball in the final quarter, with the Tactix throwing everything at the Mystics in the hopes of keeping their finals hopes alive. Their efforts paid off, seeing them take the lead for the first time in the match and keep pace with the Mystics right until the full-time whistle.

The addition of Claire O’Brien at centre gave the Mystics renewed energy and a sense of calm in the mid-court. Karaka upped the ante in the defensive end, coming away with some crucial turnover ball in the dying minutes.

It was a clutch shot on the buzzer from Tactix goal-shooter Aliyah Dunn that gave her side another chance at taking the win and sending the Mystics into a punishing extra six minutes at the end of an exhausting double-header.

Again Karaka was on fire in extra time, pulling off a brilliant intercept that the Mystics made quick work of converting. Some more remarkable long-range feeds into Nweke and a couple of missed passes from the Tactix was the difference in the end, with the Mystics closing out the match at 64 to 61.