Waikato-BOP Magic's season comes to an end

Last updated 23:13 16/06/2014
Courtney Tairi
Getty Images

JUST TOO FAR: The Magic's Courtney Tairi makes a desperate lunge for the ball in Brisbane.

Related Links

Waikato-BOP Magic look to play one more week Team shows some of old Waikato-BOP Magic Burdon: Finch's departure huge blow to Steel Three amazing years with the Steel, says Finch

Relevant offers


Anna Harrison set to keep the Silver Ferns very honest at national trials Wellington thrash North Harbour in national netball champs final Silver Ferns captain Casey Kopua remains cagey about her netball future Silver Ferns trials bring shot at redemption for unwanted shooter Cathrine Latu Hamilton City seventh at national netball championships Canterbury coach laments end of national netball tournament format after third place finish Wellington get up late to beat Christchurch and qualify for netball final Hamilton City knocked out by Christchurch at national netball championships Wellington continue their unbeaten march through national netball champs Hamilton City face tough quarterfinal opponent in Canterbury at national netball championships

The Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic's stellar trans-Tasman league season has come to an end with a loss to the Queensland Firebirds in the preliminary final in Brisbane tonight.

After playing well above expectations this year, the new-look Magic side again fought hard but were beaten 54-50 in front of a capacity crowd of 3179 at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre.

The Firebirds, who also knocked the Magic out last year, will take on the Melbourne Vixens in the grand final on Sunday.

The Magic got out to an early two-goal buffer, but the Firebirds quickly got themselves in front in a tight first quarter, before their goal defence Clare McMeniman called an early timeout for treatment to a bleeding nose after copping a stray arm from her captain Laura Geitz.

The hosts put in plenty of their renowned high balls for goal shoot Romelda Aiken and while she missed several early shots under the hoop, the 1.96m Jamaican managed to nab the rebounds.

At the other end of the court Magic shooters Jo Harten and Ellen Halpenny weren't all that accurate either, and their team faced a 14-13 quartertime deficit.

The home side got their first two-goal lead early in the second stanza, which was highlighted by an incredible Geitz intercept, where she threw the ball back in court with it deflecting off the back of a team-mate and back into the skipper's hands.

Harten was on song from range in the second quarter but it was a miss from her which opened the way for the Firebirds to go up by three - the biggest lead of the game.

A minute before halftime they went four ahead thanks to a superb finish from an off-balance Aiken.

When Courtney Tairi was pinged for held ball from the last centre pass her side went to the break behind 29-26, with the Firebirds having the start to the third quarter.

They reclaimed a four-goal lead but after Aiken missed to make it five and Magic captain Casey Kopua produced a couple of fine pieces of work, the visitors came back into it at 31-30.

But soon enough the Firebirds were up by four again, and Kopua called a tactical timeout where coach Julie Fitzgerald sent a firm, direct message to Halpenny to get her feet moving.

However, immediately after the break the hosts went up by five, then six, and after the Magic threw a ball astray it became seven consecutive goals and blew out to 38-30.

Fitzgerald brought Jamie-Lee Price on for Sam Sinclair at wing defence with six minutes to go in the third quarter, but she made a crucial error when she was pinged for heaving the ball from the defensive third to the attacking one.

On the Magic's next possession Tairi threw the ball out, but the visitors kept fighting and scored the last three goals of the quarter to trail 40-37 at three-quartertime and set up a tense final stanza.

With the opening possession the Magic reduced the margin to two, before Halpenny (21/24) threw a wild ball and allowed the Firebirds to go up by five.

With Aiken (36/44) called for stepping, Harten (29/38) sunk to make the margin three but was then pulled up for an elbow into Geitz just when the Magic were building momentum.

Ad Feedback

At 49-44 with six and a half minutes to go Leana de Bruin called time and Fitzgerald willed her troops on, but Harten then missed and the Firebirds hit the half century.

The Magic had a slim chance in the final couple of minutes but Halpenny was called for yet another offensive contact, then missed with 30 seconds left to reduce the margin to two.

- Waikato Times

Special offers
Opinion poll

Who should play goal shoot for the Silver Ferns?

Bailey Mes

Catherine Latu

Vote Result

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content