Continuity key for Tactix season, says Clarke

BRENDON EGAN
Last updated 05:00 19/05/2014

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Experienced Tactix midcourter Jade Clarke has urged the franchise to keep the core of their side together for next season.

The Tactix have won just one of their 10 trans-Tasman netball league games this season and look set to claim their fourth wooden spoon in five years.

Tonight they face another difficult test in Tauranga, when they take on the Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic, who will be stinging after two straight losses.

Clarke believed her team's poor winning record did not illustrate the progress they had made. They had developed some strong links on attack and were averaging 52 goals a game - enough to win matches.

If the Tactix were able to bring back the bulk of their squad in 2015, including injured defender Jessica Moulds, Clarke said there was a huge amount of potential.

Midcourters Keshia Grant and Hayley Saunders had produced the best netball of their careers this season, while Malawi import Mwai Kumwenda has shone in her rookie campaign.

"Last year, we had a lot of changes in our lineup. This year, we've had a consistent seven going on court," Clarke said.

"It would be really nice to see how much we can build on that keeping a lot of the team together."

Ultimately, the decision around next year's personnel will rest with the new coach after Leigh Gibbs announced on Friday she will be stepping down at the end of the season.

English international Clarke said it had been frustrating the commitment they had shown in training had not been reflected with more wins.

The Tactix were robbed of victory in their home clash with the Northern Mystics and had opportunities to win in the away game in Auckland.

"We feel like we've improved. We feel like we're a lot better team [than last year]. I can't fault the girls in terms of attitude and effort."

Clarke has tasted victory just three times in her two seasons with the Tactix - a far cry from her successful stints with the Magic and Mystics, where they contended for the title.

As one of the senior players in the side, she said it was important to lead from the front and set high standards within the group.

Clarke always wrote down what she had done well during a game and what areas she needed to work on.

"It has been tough. I try and take every experience and try and use that to make me a better player."

With former Tactix players Jo Harten, Bessie Manu, Ellen Halpenny and Jo Trip in the Magic squad, Clarke said there was no shortage of motivation to claim an upset win.

The Tactix were also desperate to atone for their dreadful 24-goal loss to the Magic in Christchurch in round one.

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Tactix defender Zoe Walker remains sidelined with an ankle sprain which means Hannah Broederlow stays with the side.

- Stuff

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