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2024 ANZ Premiership Round 8 | Mystics VS Tactix

Image copyright Michael Bradley Photography

2 June, 2024

Setting the platform with an explosive opening, the Trident Homes Tactix carried on in relentless fashion to inflict a 56-42 win over the MG Mystics in Auckland on Sunday.

Initially adding cover for an injured Aliyah Dunn, shooter Ellie Bird has revelled in her play since spending last year plying her trade in the UK and was once again at the forefront of the Tactix charge.

Unruffled under the hoop and forming a potent combination with the playmaking Te Paea Selby-Rickit, Bird calmly slotted 42 of her 46 opportunities against the Mystics. But on the day, the Tactix had plenty of standout players across the court.

Defensive duo Jane Watson and Karin Burger were in imperious form, through their athletic antics and ability to constantly limit the Mystics scoring opportunities. In the middle, captain Kimiora Poi was a bundle of energy on attack while reaping reward with her constant hustle on defence.

Katie Te Ao, sharing wing defence duties with an off-colour Mystics captain Michaela Sokolich-Beatson was a whole-hearted performer in the losing side alongside defender Carys Stythe, but the home side were ultimately left with plenty to ponder.

Neck-and-neck through the early exchanges, it didn’t take long for the Tactix to flex their considerable experience and take a firm grip on proceedings.

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The instinctive play of goal attack Selby-Rickit paid dividends at the Tactix attack end where she orchestrated much of the momentum, the 1.96m Bird taking control of the circle with her movement and ability to close out shots from close range.

At the other end, the influential defensive pairing of Watson and Burger wreaked havoc, smothering the Mystics shooters, and doing an excellent job of keeping the home side scoreless for long periods.

Enjoying an extra share of the possession gave the Tactix a useful 16-8 lead at the first break.

There was more resolve on the resumption from the Mystics, who made their opponents work harder for their keep but the home side could not contain the relentless challenged posed by the Tactix.

Generally able to play with far greater freedom, the Tactix were seamless in ensuring the scoreboard kept ticking over while the Watson/Burger combination allowed little wriggle room for the hapless Mystics shooters.

Dani Binks was introduced at goal attack for Hannah Glen in a bid to inject a change in momentum for the home side and while defender Stythe showed plenty of enterprise, there was little respite, the Tactix marching on to take a 31-19 lead at the main break.

Down on confidence and with the Tactix continuing to rampage, the Mystics were on the verge of unravelling but with their backs to the wall, the home side rallied during the third quarter.

When playmaker Peta Toeava left the court through injury, a reshuffled Mystics set-up, including Te Ao moving to centre and Tayla Earle to wing attack resulted in the most productive quarter for the home side.

The Tactix also made personnel and positional changes and while their overall dominance was never threatened, the Mystics made sure it wasn’t all one-way traffic and the score didn’t blow out completely.

With the Mystics posting their best quarter return of 13 goals, it however, didn’t stop the Tactix taking a healthy 46-32 lead into the last turn.

The Mystics came out firing in the run home, getting their hands on more turnover opportunities but there was no stopping the well-oiled Tactix machine, who were a dominant force in all facets.

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