23 Jul 2012

Magic win trans-Tasman netball competition

3:19 pm on 23 July 2012

Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic have become the first team from New Zealand to win the trans-Tasman netball championship with a 41-38 grand final victory over the Melbourne Vixens.

After trailing for most of the match at Melbourne's Hisense Arena on Sunday, the Magic overhauled a six-goal deficit midway through the third quarter to claim the title thanks to a brilliant final term.

It capped a remarkable stretch by the Magic, who overcame losing their first four games of the year to win 13 matches straight.

Magic goal shooter Irene van Dyk scored 25 goals from 26 attempts.

The final began nervously with both teams guilty of errors as shooters from both teams - except for van Dyk - missed early efforts.

Defender Casey Williams says the Magic simply never gave up and the win is absolutely fantastic.

She says the team was behind for the whole game, but it was crucial to keep positive and believe in each other.

The Vixens settled best after the frantic start but young shooters Karyn Howarth and Tegan Caldwell didn't give the home team the lead their midcourt control deserved with shooting percentages well below their normal.

Despite opening a healthy lead in the third term, the Vixens' inaccuracy proved costly as the Magic clawed their way back through van Dyk and Julianna Naoupu.

With just six minutes remaining Naoupu levelled the scores and then put the New Zealanders in front for the first time in the clash - a lead they would not relinquish.

Magic coach Noeline Taurua says the Vixens were formidable competitors, but her players had the ability to fight back.

Ms Taurua told Morning Report winning the trans-Tasman competition is great for all New Zealand teams.

She says it has closed the gap with their Australian counterparts, and she hopes to keep that momentum going for future competitions.