12 Jun 2016

Underwhelming games by Pulse and Mystics

6:11 pm on 12 June 2016

The Melbourne Vixens have kept their finals hopes alive at the expense of the Northern Mystics with an emphatic 69-46 win in their trans-Tasman netball clash in Melbourne.

Kayla Cullen will be in the thick of it at the
Northern Mystics.

Silver Fern Kayla Cullen made her return from injury. Photo: Photosport

The 23-goal victory sees the Vixens improve their season record to six wins and four losses and extends their streak against the Mystics to five.

The Vixens move back into third on the ladder and lead the West Coast Fever on goal difference with both sides on 12 competition points.

Vixens goal shooter Karyn Bailey recovered from an unusually wobbly start to top score with a career-best 52 goals from 58 attempts at 90 percent accuracy.

The Mystics went missing in the second quarter, with the Vixens scoring five unanswered goals early.

As the margin increased to nine goals, the Mystics brought in changes, with star shooter Cathrine Tuivaiti replaced by Megan Craig and Kayla Cullen and Temalisi Fakahokotau taking the court.

The imposing 203cm Megan Craig was immense under the high ball and finished with 20 goals from 23 attempts from three quarters.

It was Cullen's return to the court, having been sidelined for a few weeks through injury.

After a slow start to the first quarter, the Vixens were out of the blocks fastest at every other change, piling on five unanswered goals to set up the 11 goal lead they would take to half time and storming to a 16 goal advantage just minutes into the third quarter.

Fierce New Zealander defender Anna Harrison was playing her 50th game.

Silver Fern Maria Tutaia scored 19 from 25 while under the tough defence of Jo Weston and Geva Mentor.

Elsewhere, the Central Pulse had a golden opportunity to get a rare win over an Australian side, hosting the winless Adelaide Thunderbirds in Porirua.

But the Thunderbirds took advantage of any sloppy play by the Pulse and picked up a convincing 60-46 win.

The visitors made the most of any turnovers they created and led by three at the quarter and half-time breaks.

The Pulse capitulated in the third quarter and the score blew out to 48-36 at the final turn.

A raft of changes was not enough to address the damage and the Thunderbirds picked up their first win after 11 rounds of trying.