Sunday 12 March, 2023


Christchurch Arena, Christchurch

Full time MG Northern Mystics 54 – Trident Homes Mainland Tactix 45


It was a battle of the titans right from the start as the MG Mystics travelled south to take on rivals the Trident Homes Tactix to pull off a classy 54 – 45 win in their first match on the road.

Tactix defensive duo Jane Watson and Karin Burger exerted huge defensive pressure in an attempt to shut down shooting target Grace Nweke from the get-go, but the Mystics did well to work the ball and show good patience on the feed.

Mystics wing-attack Peta Toeava seized her opportunities to show off great vision and x-factor executing no-look passes and precision high balls into Nweke, as well as strong chemistry with fellow mid-courter centre Tayla Earle to create good angles around the feeding circle.

It was tit-for-tat going into the second quarter with just one goal separating the two teams and the Tactix finding another gear to claw back control from the visiting Mystics. Watson and Burger came out hunting, finding a number of clean intercepts and deflections to disrupt the Mystics’ flow however the Tactix struggled to convert in the shooting end.

A change at goal attack for the Mystics saw Monica Falkner raise the tempo and draw the Tactix defense away from the post to create opportunities for the signature long-ball into Nweke once more.

Both teams had their work cut out for them off the ball, with solid through court pressure forcing players to shift the ball around, back and forth to the transverse line, in an attempt to penetrate the defense.

It was the Mystics’ superior shooting percentage that saw them open up a four-goal advantage early in the third quarter, signalling a momentum shift as the Tactix failed to respond with the same fervour as they had in the first half.

Some game-changing turn-overs from Toeava, Michaela Sokolich-Beatson and dynamic defensive partners Sulu Fitzpatrick and Phoenix Karaka gave the Mystics yet more opportunities to extend their lead, whilst the Tactix struggled to find their rhythm downcourt and lacked confidence to put shots up.

Mystics coach Tia Winikerei made considerably less substitutions this game than we saw in the team’s first outing, allowing the team to bed-in their combinations and maintain intensity throughout the four quarters.

Falkner again came out blazing in the fourth quarter, offering a nice option off the centre pass and showing great strength in the air to relieve some of the pressure on Nweke.

Despite running away with a comfortable lead, the Mystics showed composure and class, moving the ball with fluidity and confidence and working their connections right through court.

In their first true test of the season, the Mystics closed out the game comfortably at 54 – 45 and looked as though they had plenty left in the tank heading into their next match versus the Magic on Sunday.