Tactix shooter impresses Fowler-Reid

BRENDON EGAN
Last updated 05:00 21/04/2014
Mwai Kumwenda
DANIEL TOBIN/Fairfax NZ
THREAT AT THE NET: Malawian shooter Mwai Kumwenda has been identified as the key threat as Southern Steel look to take down the Canterbury Tactix in Christchurch tonight.

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Mwai Kumwenda's sparkling play in the shooting circle has caught the attention of one of the best in the business.

Southern Steel's Jamaican goal shoot Jhaniele Fowler-Reid set the trans-Tasman netball league alight in her rookie season last year. She was named competition MVP and broke the record for individual goals in a regular season [666] and in a game [65], which she did twice against the Tactix.

Malawi international Kumwenda has been successful in her first campaign with the Tactix, slotting 214 goals in six games at 92 per cent.

Fowler-Reid, who with Steel will take on the Tactix in Christchurch tonight, said she was impressed by how quickly Kumwenda had made an impact.

"Defenders are having a problem with her because she has so much flair. She's a pretty good shooter; she's so accurate," Fowler-Reid said.

"I love to watch her play because you never what she's going to do."

Steel coach Janine Southby has multiple options in her defensive stocks and could start with talented youngster Phoenix Karaka at goal keep to contain Kumwenda's athleticism.

Fowler-Reid believed if they could limit Kumwenda's shooting volume they would go a long way to winning the game.

"[Our defenders] are going to have to stick on her. Man-on defence on Mwai will be good because she's pretty aerial. We need a defender that can jump as well."

The Tactix have their own concerns trying to keep the ball out of Fowler-Reid's hands in the shooting circle.

She tormented them on the two occasions they met last year, with the Steel midcourt able to whip the ball into the attacking end with a bit too much freedom.

With Jessica Moulds suffering a season-ending ruptured Achilles tendon, Tactix coach Leigh Gibbs said she would probably go with Jane Watson at goal keep, alongside Zoe Walker.

The Tactix midcourters will be in for a busy game defensively, trying to slow down the ball getting into Fowler-Reid. Gibbs said it was imperative they had a full team defensive effort.

"It's pretty hard with [Fowler-Reid's] height. We have to apply the pressure outside the circle. It's got to be really high percentage on attack, so we're not giving them extra ball."

THE TEAMS

Tactix: Anna Thompson (c), Mwai Kumwenda, Keshia Grant, Jade Clarke, Hayley Saunders, Zoe Walker, Jane Watson, Louise Thayer, Julianna Naoupu, Sophia Fenwick, Nicola Mackle.

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Steel: Jodi Brown (c), Jhaniele Fowler-Reid, Shannon Francois, Phillipa Finch, Wendy Frew, Rachel Rasmussen, Phoenix Karaka, Erena Mikaere, Storm Purvis, Gina Crampton, Stacey Peeters, Te Paea Selby-Rickit.

CBS Canterbury Arena, 7.40pm today

- The Southland Times

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