Core squad will be key for Tactix, says captain

BRENDON EGAN
Last updated 05:00 24/06/2013
Anna Thompson
MICHAEL BRADLEY/Fairfax NZ
SWIFT PASS: Anna Thompson in action for the Tactix this season.

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Tactix captain Anna Thompson wants to see the franchise retain the nucleus of their squad for next year's trans-Tasman league.

The Tactix will bring the curtain down on another disappointing campaign tonight, when they take on the New South Wales Swifts in Sydney.

With just two wins from 12 games, there has been little for the Tactix to smile about in 2013, but Thompson believes better days are ahead for her struggling side.

Youngsters like Zoe Walker, Jane Watson, Kirsten Hurley, and Sophia Fenwick - none of whom had started a trans-Tasman league game before this season - had made encouraging progress, and were players the franchise could build their future around, she said.

The Tactix should be able to take at least one positive from this season. If the Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic beat the Northern Mystics, who have won just one game this season, tonight, the Tactix will avoid a fourth consecutive wooden spoon, which they will draw some satisfaction from.

The Tactix desperately need to add more talent and experience over the off-season, but foundation player Thompson, who has played 76 games for the team, urged against overhauling their squad.

"You could go that way, or you could keep the core of the group together.

"You see that in other teams, where a group of players have been playing together at this intensity level for a number of years and you can see it really makes a difference."

She believes the Tactix have the foundations of a promising side, and said if they could keep the bulk of the team together, it would produce benefits in the next few years.

"These girls have got so much talent. If you give them more time under their belt, they're only going to grow and and keep getting better."

The problem is, the trans-Tasman league is an unforgiving environment; hardly the place to blood young greenhorns.

In the world of professional sport, teams are judged by their win-loss record, and whether they make it into the finals.

With just six wins from 51 games over the past four seasons, the Tactix must gain some respectability on the netball court, and lose their reputation as the laughing stock of the league.

Thompson, a born-and-bred Cantabrian, has said she wants to be with Tactix when the team start winning games consistently.

This week, she said she was keen to re-sign with the team for next season, but it would not be a surprise if other New Zealand franchises came calling.

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"I'm definitely dedicated to the Tactix," she said. "You never know what's going to happen, though."

Thompson, who has 11 caps for New Zealand, hopes to be named in Silver Ferns' coach Waimarama Taumaunu's list of triallists next month.

The 27-year-old has spent this season at wing attack, after playing much of her netball at goal attack in the past.

She had received feedback from Taumaunu during her monthly regional visits to the franchises, and was confident being able to cover two positions would hold her in good stead.

The Tactix are aiming to create history tonight. They have never won in Australia from 14 previous attempts. The Central Pulse and Southern Steel are the other Kiwi sides still to win across the ditch, six years into the trans-Tasman competition.

Tonight's game begins at 9.40pm.

- The Press

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