An injection of fresh faces has the SKYCITY Mystics on track for finals netball. After a tricky couple of seasons, the SKYCITY Mystics netball team recruited six new players this year to join their established stars like Maria Tutaia, Cat Latu and Laura Langman. The season has started well and here’s a look at the contribution the newbies are making.
After the addition of Serena Guthrie and Millie Lees the midcourt is now considered a real strength. Guthrie, who has played over 50 tests for England, has slotted straight in at wing defence and has become a fan favourite with her relentless pursuit of the ball. You can see why she might need a bit of tape on those shoulders.
Lees, who spent the last six years playing for the Central Pulse while training as a doctor, has put her stethoscope aside in 2015 to concentrate on netball with the Mystics and the Silver Ferns. She’s been a regular starter at wing attack, where she’s providing smooth service to her shooters. She’ll have especially enjoyed getting wins over the Pulse in both matches this year.
Maria Tutaia and Cat Latu are two of the top shooters in world netball. Latu regularly heads the ANZ Championship stats for highest goal percentages, while Tutaia does things that other goal attacks simply can’t. Getting court time off that pair is a challenge, but with Latu having troubles with an appendix, an ankle and then her back, both Elsa Brown and Paula Griffin have stepped up. Brown has been learning plenty off Latu, who has taken her under her wing (even though Brown is 1.91m) and the pair can regularly be seen working together at training.
Griffin, who has played 15 tests for New Zealand, was superb when called on late in the match against the Magic in Rotorua, as the SKYCITY Mystics charged home for a 45-all draw. By comparison to the attackers and the midcourters, the defensive unit are the babies. The youngest of them is Temalisi Fakahokotau (20), while Kayla Cullen (despite her years in the spotlight), is still just 23. They’ve been joined this season by Sulu Tone-Fitzpatrick (22) and Katherine Coffin (24). All four defenders have seen plenty of action as Debbie Fuller has used their different strengths to unsettle attackers.
Tone-Fitzpatrick, who is back in the ANZ Championship after time away to have twins, is a niece of the famous All Blackprop Olo Brown, while Coffin, who has moved up from the Waikato, is living with her aunt Jenny May.
Then another crucial recruit has been Noeline Taurua. The former head coach of the Magic is loving playing a support role at the SKYCITY Mystics, concentrating on the attack, with Fuller taking overall responsibility for the side who appear on track to play conference finals netball in June. SKYCITY Mystics remaining home games are all at The Trusts Arena, Henderson. 18 May v Waikato BOP Magic 1 June v Melbourne Vixens The Trusts are proud to be long term supporters of the SKYCITY Mystics.