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Vastly-improved Tactix push Steel but lose

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 7/05/2017

The Mainland Tactix have unfurled a massively improved display before losing 61-55 to the Southern Steel in the national premiership.

A clash between the best and worst teams in the league was expected to be another blowout, as was the case when the Steel crushed the Tactix 90-41 in Christchurch less than three weeks ago.

Having fallen behind 21-14 after the first quarter, the Tactix held sway for the next two stanzas, winning them 14-13 and 17-12 to trail the Steel just 46-45.

Prolific Steel shooter Jhaniele Fowler-Reid's influence was borne out, having been rested for the two middle quarters.

When she returned for the final quarter, the Steel's attacking flow returned as they pulled clear.

New coach Marianne Delaney-Hoshek appears to have made an impact since replacing the departed Sue Hawkins two weeks ago.

While her team slumped to an eighth loss, they have cut their turnover count significantly in recent weeks.

The form of players such as goal defence Zoe Walker, centre Nicola Mackle and goal shoot Ellie Bird suggest a first win could be achieved in coming weeks.

It was a sub-par performance from the Steel, whose record nevertheless improved to 8-0 as they prepare to face nearest challengers Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic and the Central Pulse in the next two rounds.

The match was the first of round seven, which marks the midway point of the season.

The third-placed Pulse host the Northern Stars on Monday while the Magic are home to the Northern Mystics in Hamilton two days later.

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