26 May 2024

Southern Steel inflict four-goal loss on Northern Mystics

7:31 pm on 26 May 2024
26.05.2024 Steel's Kate Heffernan and Mystics Tayla Earle in action during the Steel v Mystics ANZ Premiership netball match at the Edgar Centre in Dunedin. Mandatory Photo Credit ©Michael Bradley

Southern Steel's Kate Heffernan and Mystics Tayla Earle in action during Sunday night's ANZ Premiership netball match at the Edgar Centre in Dunedin. Photo: Michael Bradley

The Southern Steel have overcome a late rally and brutal Northern Mystics defence to post their second win of the ANZ Premiership season.

In front of an ecstatic home crowd the Steel claimed the upset 47-43 win over the favoured Auckland side and also had the satisfaction of getting their hands on the Georgina Salter Memorial Trophy.

Steel shooters Grace Namana and Georgia Heffernan were more than a match for Mystics defenders Phoenix Karaka and Carys Stythe.

Despite Stythe shunting Heffernan to the floor of Dunedin's Edgar Centre in the final quarter, the southerners held their nerve to run the game home.

The exuberant defence of Silver Fern Karaka and up-and-comer Stythe not only pressured the Steel shooters but also captured plenty of attention from the umpires.

Karaka notched up 18 penalties for the match, with Style adding another nine.

With the loss of Shannon Saunders to a season-ending injury, and Ivari Christie ruled out for this match, the unsung hero for the Steel was replacement wing attack Serina Danaukamakama.

Danaukamakama, a Mystics training partner, was a vital cog in a seamless Steel midcourt led by captain Kate Heffernan with back-up from reliable wing defence Renee Savai'inaea.

Heffernan's battle with Mystics counterpart Tayla Earle was good to watch with both players working tirelessly on defence and weaving the ball into their shooters.

Steel coach Reinga Bloxham said she was thrilled her players held on in the last quarter as their eight-goal lead was under some pressure as the Mystics were desperate to get back into the contest.

"They're a good bunch of girls. We've had plenty of challenges with people being injured and coming in and out," the Steel coach said.

"But they come in each week and they aim to improve every training."

She credited the Mystics for their work on defence.

"They are really tall and rangy and they can confuse the space, so they did make us work reasonably hard to get the ball in," she said.

Mystics coach Tia Winikerei went to her bench several times with substitute goal attack Dani Binks driving a late run as she scored three goals from three attempts.

The Mystics slumped to their third loss of the season. They sit in third on the standings behind the Pulse and Tactix, while the Steel move up to fifth, leapfrogging the Northern Stars.

Shooting Stats - Steel:

Grace Namana 28/34 (82 percent)

Georgia Heffernan 19/23 (83 percent)

Shooting Stats - Mystics:

Filda Vui 20/22 (91 percent)

Hannah Glen 20/26 (77 percent)

Dani Binks 3/3 (100 percent)

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