August 22, 2017

Netball: Mystics upset the Magic in thriller

At just 24, Maria Tutaia is already a netball superstar. Can one of Tokoroa's finest help down the Firebirds as well?

The Northern Mystics have claimed a place in the trans-Tasman netball grand final against the Queensland Firebirds with a thrilling 43-42 victory over the Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic in Hamilton tonight.

Mystics goal attack Maria Tutaia, led the way with 28 goals from 30 attempts at 93 per cent.

The Mystics made a mistake on the opening play of the match and the home side were impressive early on, going to a 12-7 lead at one point.

Irene van Dyk shot eight from nine and Julianna Naoupu five from six as the hosts went to the break 13-9 ahead.

Magic wing attack Frances Solia was replaced at quarter time by Jess Tuki, but the Mystics were the ones who made the impact.

They were completely dominant in the second quarter, as they shut down the Magic’s attack, with the home side struggling to get the ball to the shooting circle.

The visitors won the quarter 16-7 to take a healthy 25-20 lead to halftime.

Jamilah Gupwell came on at goal attack for Naoupu, who shot just three from six in the second quarter, but she struggled to add any impetus and was pulled after just eight minutes.

The Magic won the quarter 12-10 but the Mystics still went to the break 35-32 in front.

It was going to require something special for the Magic to pull off a victory in the final quarter, but the Mystics held firm.

The hosts brought Jodi Tod off, shifting Casey Williams to goal defence and giving Sulu Tone-Fitzpatrick the goal keep bib.

Some strong movements through court brought dividends for the Magic and they narrowed the gap to two in the final minutes, but they ran out of time.

It is a surprise that the Magic are not in the final. Most would have backed them to win through on their home court. The Mystics deserve plaudits though. They got a roll on by knocking off the New South Wales Swifts in the minor semi final and seem to be carrying on the momentum. With two away wins on the trot, can they make it three? It might be a game too far.

Northern Mystics 43 (Cathrine Latu 15/17, Maria Tutaia 28/30) Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic 42 (Irene van Dyk 26/27, Julianna Naoupu 15/20, Jamilah Gupwell 1/3). Halftime: 25-20.