The battle of the bridge between the MG Mystics and the Stars turned out to be a nailbiter in round 10 of the ANZ Premiership at The Trusts Arena in Waitākere, with the home team holding on to secure the win 51 – 49 and remain in third place on the table.

The Mystics retain the Barfoot & Thompson Northern Challenge trophy and put an end to what has been a troublesome three-game losing streak for the defending champions.

The Mystics looked to be back to their classy selves, opening the match with a confidence we haven’t seen from the side in their last three matches. Goal shooter Hannah Glen stood up well to physical pressure from Stars goalkeeper Kate Burley, holding her space and finding her rhythm early on. The Mystics were able to weather Burley’s attempts to come out hunting and deliver the ball safely into the circle.

Goal attack Filda Vui stepped up to direct play well in the shooting third in the absence of playmaker Peta Toeava and showcased great vision into Glen under the hoop.

The attacking unit seemed to finally click, with centre Katie Te Ao and wing attack Tayla Earle also providing quality ball into their shooters and showing great patience to work their way to the circle edge.

At the opposite end goalkeeper Carys Stythe had another strong start, turning over two intercepts and coming up with a rebound that the Mystics were able to turn into points on the board.

The Mystics entered the second quarter ahead by three and continued to play slick, flowing netball, displaying their signature ball speed through court. However a raft of substitutions just minutes into the quarter saw the Mystics lose momentum and the Stars begin to claw back the lead.

Kayla Johnson took the court briefly at wing defence, before moving into centre where she looked to slot in more comfortably and apply strong defensive pressure on the Stars midcourters.

Burley was a menace on defence, making good use of her long limbs to gain tips and disrupt play in the Mystics attacking third. Hannah Glen’s solid hold was missed in the shooting third and as a result the Mystics’ feeders were forced to work harder to deliver clean ball.

Filda Vui’s accuracy from around the shooting circle was enough to keep the Mystics on equal footing, holding the Stars to within one goal heading into half-time.

The third quarter saw the Mystics return to their starting line-up and their attacking momentum returned almost immediately allowing them to regain the lead.

Phoenix Karaka, Carys Stythe and captain Michaela Sokolich-Beatson combined well to produce more turnover ball in the defensive end, keeping the Stars on the ropes and their feeders off the circle edge.

Katie Te Ao made a strong impact at centre for the Mystics, letting the ball go without hesitation into her shooters and providing good attacking options throughout the court. The Mystics’ ball speed and accuracy enabled them to beat the Stars defenders, despite some good vision and pressure from Kate Burley in goal defence.

Hannah Glen slotted back in at goal shooter and maintained the second-best shooting percentage of the match, also putting up good volume and helping the Mystics to extend their lead even further heading into the deciding quarter.

Despite opening the final stanza with a seven-goal lead, the Mystics had to fight through to the final whistle to hold onto the much-needed victory.

With the Mystics making another series of changes at quarter-time, the Stars took their opportunity to turn the heat up, pulling back the lead to within one. Sensing the pressure, the Mystics recoiled to play safe netball, moving the ball around in short bursts and attempting to hold on to possession.

Filda Vui was able to continue slotting shots from long range whilst under intense pressure from both the Stars defence and the scoreboard, but it did little to subdue a vocal home crowd on the edge of their seats.

The nail-biting continued for the full 15-minutes and with just seconds remaining Phoenix Karaka picked up two crucial intercepts to put the nail in the coffin for the Stars and secure the Mystics’ first win in four games 51-49.