They might be playoff contenders after turning their season around, but the Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic haven't shown anything different from previous years to suggest they could net a maiden title, according to Central Pulse midcourter Joline Henry.
Following her side's 52-42 loss to the Magic in Mt Maunganui on Sunday night, Henry lauded the abilities of the Magic team but still rated the Northern Mystics better contenders despite the Pulse falling to them twice this season by four goals, and twice to the Magic by 10.
The 29-year-old Silver Fern knows both sides well, playing her netball with the Mystics the previous two years after being with the Magic for two seasons before that, and appearing in a grand final with each of them.
Asked if she could see something new this time that could spark the Magic, who are the only team to have made the playoffs every season, Henry responded.
"Not really," she said. "I'd say that New Zealand's best chance for the title would be Mystics at the moment, just based on form. In saying that, if this team performs to its very best they're a team that can beat anybody.
"I think that they're [the Magic] in a really good spot to go to playoffs. How well they do there is probably another question. But if they play to the very best of their ability they'll be a team to be reckoned with."
The Mystics sit at the top of the table after their win over the Southern Steel last night, with the Magic in fifth spot and needing to win two of their last three games to make the playoffs.
Meanwhile, the Pulse have already broken records with five wins this season, after managing just five during the first four years of the competition.
While they showed, in beating the Adelaide Thunderbirds and pushing other sides close, that they could threaten the finals, Henry said it had never been a consideration of theirs. "Playoffs was never in our objectives this year. It was to, each time we step out there on court, make sure that we're growing our foundations, and I think that, in the most part, we have done that."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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