Devastating losses to the teams nearest to them have almost certainly destroyed the playoff chances of Kalifa Mc Collin’s Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel in the top tier of New Zealand’s netball.
The Trinidadian was almost perfect when playing at shoot for her injury-hit Steel side which went down 50-43 on the weekend to the Robinhood Northern Stars, a team they had beaten twice this season, before falling 37-36 to the bottom-placed WBOP Magic which secured a first win since the opening round of the ANZ Premiership way back in March.
McCollin, the Steel’s speedy goal-attack, took on the weight of the shooting against the Magic and had missed only one of her 16 in the first half, before ending with 20 goals from 22 tries.
But it was when McCollin was rested that home team Magic excelled. Kelsey McPhee hadn’t missed a shot for the Magic but when she was missing from the court at the start of the third quarter, Abigail Latu-Meafou proved a good replacement.
Tears flowed freely from relieved Splice Construction Magic players after they pulled off only their second win of the season. The Magic are still bottom but now, just a point over the fifth-placed Steel.
On Saturday at the Auckland Netball Centre, buoyed by a 39/39 shooting performance by Maia Wilson, the Northern Stars got off to a dominant 16-7 lead after a high-scoring first quarter against the Steel.
Changes were promptly made by the Steel for the resumption with Trinidad and Tobago import McCollin moving up court to her more favoured goal-attack position, Ellen Halpenny being injected from the bench to goal shoot and Kate Heffernan taking over the centre’s bib.
The Steel matched the Stars for the rest of the match but could not overturn the slow first quarter start. Mc Collin ended with 17 goals from 18 attempts.
2020 ANZ Premiership standings
Team P W L D GF GA GD Pts
Central Pulse 11 10 1 0 513 401 112 41
Mainland Tactix 12 7 4 1 524 492 32 32
Northern Mystics 11 7 4 0 493 481 12 29
Northern Stars 12 4 7 1 544 581 -37 21
Southern Steel 12 3 9 0 493 541 -48 15
WBOP Magic 12 2 8 2 475 546 -71 14