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Tutaia-Mes pairing to flourish at Mystics

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 15/03/2017

Silver Ferns ace Maria Tutaia is banking on her new Northern Mystics final-third partnership with Bailey Mes to translate into success in the international arena.

The 30-year-old Test centurion, who will co-captain the Mystics in 2017, has been joined by Mes in Auckland after the shooter transferred from Mainland Tactix.

Their offensive one-two will replicate a long-standing partnership at international level, with Mes close to the post and Tutaia raining in her trademark long bombs.

Speaking at the Mystics season launch on Wednesday, Tutaia said the duo could use their nascent Premiership pairing as a springboard into international form.

The Silver Ferns have fallen to Australia in both the final of the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and the 2015 Netball World Cup.

"I can't do another silver at Comm Games or World Cups," Tutaia said.

"It was very smart of Bailey to come back home and, for us, it's making the most of our opportunities together at training.

"Bailey's come leaps and bounds from the type of netball she was playing only a couple of years ago - what an outstanding, athletic player."

Having split off from the Australian competition, the inaugural six-team Kiwi domestic Premiership campaign begins in less than two weeks.

The Mystics are stacked with Test talent at either end of the court through Tutaia, Mes, Storm Purvis and Anna Harrison, but have lost Kayla Cullen to the newly-established Northern Stars.

England international Sasha Corbin will take Cullen's place in the midcourt.

Yet despite their strength across the court, the Mystics struggled in their Otaki pre-season run-outs and lost to the Southern Steel, Tactix and Central Pulse.

Tutaia said she was excited for the season proper to get underway, with the opportunity to re-establish a traditionally Kiwi netball style.

She ensured her side's round one showing against the Pulse would be different.

"It's so nice we're able to get our mojo back," Tutaia said.

"Knowing we're able to inject that into New Zealand as a whole, it's something I'm really looking forward to."

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