Michael Bradley Photography
Tactix centre Kimiora Poi pushes a pass away.
Teenage goal shoot Grace Nweke’s deadly accuracy has helped the Northern Mystics move to the top of the ANZ Premiership table.
The Mystics have defeated the Mainland Tactix 47-42 at the Auckland Netball Centre on Friday night.
Nweke took 34 minutes of play to miss a shot, the unwanted milestone coming with two minutes to play in the third quarter.
She finished with 38 goals from 40 attempts.
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How long the Mystics sit on top of the table remains to be seen with the Pulse in the box seat to be in the lead by the end of the weekend.
A keenly contested match, the Mystics finally pulled away at the end of the third quarter and beginning of the final term to secure the round four victory.
Nweke received strong service from Peta Toeava and Tayla Earle who rarely missed their mark getting the ball into the circle.
At the end of the first quarter, the Tactix held a 14-11 lead.
The Tactix flew out of the blocks early to lead by four before the Mystics locked things up at 8-8, only for the Tactix to wrestle the momentum back with the three-goal lead at the first break.
Come the second quarter it was the Mystics’ turn to gain some ascendancy as they clawed the deficit back to tie the scores up at 24 at the halftime break.
Nweke went through the first two quarters without a miss, no mean feat given the defensive pressure of Jane Watson and Temalisi Fakahokotau.
The fearless Fakahokotau throwing her body around the court in kamikaze fashion to upset the flow of the Mystics attack on several occasions.
Tactix sharpshooter Ellie Bird wasn’t far behind with 16 shots landed from 17 attempts at halftime.
The Tactix should have held a halftime lead after putting up five more attempts than the Mystics and conceding too many turnovers in the second quarter.
The Mystics seemingly had the best of the third quarter but the Tactix fought hard for every possession and limited the damage to a two-goal deficit at the final break.
A lead that the Mystics quickly stretched to seven on the back of six straight goals in the first half of the final quarter.
Round four of the ANZ Premiership continues on Saturday, when the Pulse face the Steel, then on Sunday, when the defending champions back up to face the Magic, and concludes on Monday, when the Magic back up to face the Northern Stars.
ANZ Premiership, round four
Northern Mystics 47 Mainland Tactix 42
Q1: 11-14; HT: 24-24; Q3: 35-33