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Tactix upset lacklustre Mystics

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 18/06/2017

Mainland Tactix player Nicola Mackle. © Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images Mainland Tactix player Nicola Mackle. Mainland Tactix have saved their best until last, winding up an underwhelming national netball premiership season by upsetting the Northern Mystics 57-46 in Auckland.

The win, just their second of the season, won't move them off the bottom of the ladder but ends the Mystics' hopes of a home advantage in next week's play-offs.

It even puts the Aucklanders' top-three finish under threat, with just two games remaining in the regular season.

The fourth-placed Magic now have a slender chance of a shot at the play-offs if they can beat the Northern Stars by a big enough margin in Auckland on Wednesday.

It also assures the Central Pulse of home advantage in the play-off to find out who will meet unbeaten Southern Steel in the grand final in Invercargill on June 28.

The Tactix built momentum steadily on Sunday, easing ahead 17-14 after 15 minutes before piling on the defensive pressure to lead 33-23 at halftime.

Mystics shooters Bailey Mes and Maria Tutaia missed only one of 23 shots between them over the first 30 minutes.

But while Brooke Leaver and Anna Thompson missed seven of their 40 attempts at the other end of the court, the sheer volume of ball they had to work with meant it didn't matter.

Circle defenders Zoe Walker and Temalisi Fakahokotau generated plenty of turnover ball for the visitors, but it was the Tactix's defensive work outside the circle which really paid dividends.

Midcourters Erikana Pedersen and Nicola Mackle combined with wing defence Hayley Saunders to force a stream of errors, and showed patience and precision on transition to work the ball into Leaver and Thompson.

The Mystics particularly missed the uncompromising presence of gritty defender Anna Harrison, sidelined with a back injury, both inside and outside the circle.

But although they lifted fractionally to win the third quarter 10-9, the lacklustre Mystics still trailed 32-42 with 15 minutes remaining.

They continued to struggle for traction over the last quarter, the Tactix controlling possession comfortably to close out the win.

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