Tactix let the Southern Steel off hook in defeat

BRENDON EGAN
Last updated 05:00 26/05/2014

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Netball

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The Tactix will be kicking themselves when they watch the replay of this one.

Last night in Dunedin, the red-and-blacks were beaten 64-60 by a Southern Steel side, who lost brilliant shooter Jhaniele Fowler-Reid to a knee injury late in the first quarter.

Fowler-Reid has caused the Tactix all sorts of bother since joining the trans-Tasman netball league last season.

She achieved a competition record last year, scoring 65 goals both times the teams met. 

When Fowler-Reid hobbled off the court, the Tactix held a 14-13 lead. Buoyed by her absence, they went on a 6-2 spurt to close out the quarter.

The Tactix were able to pick up defensive ball and slow down the possession getting into Steel shooters Jodi Brown and Te Paea Selby-Rickit.

The Tactix played some of their most clinical netball of the season in the first quarter, letting the ball go freely on attack, which produced a flurry of goals.

Early in the second quarter, the Tactix seemed on track for just their second win of the season, holding a 28-19 advantage.

Steel coach Janine Southby switched around her line-up to contain the Tactix' attackers with the experienced Rachel Rasmussen injected into the defensive circle and Wendy Frew coming on at wing defence.

The changes sparked the Steel, who regained their confidence and began to fight their way into the contest. 

A powerful 11-2 run from the home side saw them snatch the lead back and go into halftime up 33-31.

Selby-Rickit has barely been sighted for the Steel in recent years, but the youngster showed why she is so highly rated.

During the second half, she knocked down some important shots and when a miss did occur, she was on hand to grab the rebound.

Selby-Rickit finished the game with 27/32, while skipper Brown had a strong all-round game with 26/36, including a basketball style lay-up.

The supply of ball flowing through to star Tactix shooter Mwai Kumwenda dried up in the second half with the Steel lifting their through-court defensive pressure.

In the final quarter, the Tactix had their chances to win the game, trailing by just a goal midway through the last term.

Kumwenda missed a crucial goal with seven minutes remaining and at the other end Selby-Rickit converted.

The Steel went on a mini-run to push their advantage out to four, which killed off any chance of a Tactix victory.

The loss assures the Tactix of their fourth wooden spoon in five years.

They finish the season against the Adelaide Thunderbirds in Australia on Sunday, in what will be coach Leigh Gibbs' last game in charge.In other games yesterday, the NSW Swifts hurt the Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic's prospects of a home semi-final, winning 55-43, while the Melbourne Vixens illustrated their class with a 64-43 victory over the defending champions Thunderbirds. 

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