Mystics sink Tactix in key netball win

Jul 2, 2016 - 6:02 AM The Northern Mystics have all but clinched New Zealand's third spot in the trans-Tasman netball league playoffs after pulling away from the Tactix 62-54 in Auckland.

A dominant second half pulled the Mystics clear in a tense final-round fixture, meaning they will finish third in the New Zealand conference unless the Pulse can pull off a huge and unlikely win on Monday over the Melbourne Vixens.

The Mystics will face the second-placed Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic in an elimination final next week if the Pulse do not win by about 35 goals in Wellington.

The Tactix complete a ninth successive trans-Tasman championship campaign without reaching the playoffs, a disappointing outcome after making a bright start.

They looked like ending that drought when they led 28-25 late in Saturday's second quarter before wilting as the Mystics went on an 11-1 run either side of halftime.

The home side were 38-29 clear by the end of the third period and were never threatened over the closing quarter.

Captain Maria Tutaia was typically influential at goal attack, only two days after being forced to skip training in a moonboot as she battled a persistent foot injury.

She sank 32 of 36 shots and played a major role with her movement and linking with goal shooter Cathrine Tuivaiti (30/32).

Centre Serena Guthrie and wing defence Anna Harrison snaffled five intercepts between them in an impressive Mystics defensive display.

Young defender Zoe Walker was among the best Tactix players while shooters Mwai Kumwenda (35/37) and Bailey Mes (18/20) had their moments although Mes was guilty of some crucial turnovers.

The Southern Steel are guaranteed to finish first in the NZ conference and the Magic second, regardless of the result of their respective final games against the NSW Swifts and Adelaide Thunderbirds.

Source: AAP

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