Comets remain unbeaten in National Netball League
Northern sister teams have signalled their early intent with two convincing wins in Round 3 of the National Netball League.
The Northern Marvels will have taken plenty of confidence from their 18-goal victory over the defending champion Central Manawa team at the ASB Sports Centre in Wellington, while the Northern Comets continued their commanding start to their campaign with a 61-34 win over Waikato-BOP.
The Marvels trailed early in their game against Manawa but made their move in the second spell, which they won by six, and finished strongly in the fourth quarter to win 65-45.
Mystics shooting duo of Saviour Tui and Filda Vui both featured for the Marvels in the NNL – the latter netting 87 per cent of her 32 attempts at goal while Tui finished with 34 from 43.
At the other end of the court goal keep Tauhi Lopeti was also influential with 10 gains for her team, pulling in four intercepts, four rebounds and two deflections, while wing Danielle Gray also disrupted Manawa’s flow on attack with five gains.
Meanwhile, the Comets were fast out of the blocks against Waikato-BOP at Trustpower Arena in Tauranga, netting their third big win from as many outings.
Captain Chonaire Huriwai said they still had room for improvement but there was no chance of complacency despite the advantage they had on the scoreboard.
“We hold each other accountable by just constantly staying in communication,” she said.
“We want to start with good intent, with purpose, keep our communication up and stay connected on court and that’s what helps keeps us motivated out there.”
Defensive pressure was again telling for the Comets as they forced Waikato-BOP into early errors, racing out to an 11-3 lead mid-way through the opening stanza.
There was no let up from the Comets who built on their 22-6 lead to have control of the match by the mid-way mark with a 22-goal advantage.
Waikato-BOP captain Georgia Bodle said her side were left lamenting their poor first half but she was pleased with their fight back after the main break.
“We came back from it and lifted our heads,” she said.
“The second half was a lot better. We are a young side out there with a lot of inexperience so once we got our flow going and got the rhythm back, it went well.”
They produced their best 15 minutes of play in the third quarter, losing the spell by just one goal.
Shooter Ellie McManaway shouldered the scoring opportunities for Waikato-BOP – accurate in the circle but it was a tough ask getting ball into her hands over the defensive pressure from Nanise Waqaira and Lisa Putt.
There is no rest for the Comets who are back in action for Round 4 next week with a match against Mainland in Christchurch while Waikato-BOP hosts the Southern Blast in Te Aroha.
The NNL is played over 11 rounds with a Grand Final will be played at The Trusts Arena in Auckland on 4 July.