Northern Mystics duo are shooting for success

LIAM NAPIER
Last updated 05:00 16/03/2014
Mystics
MICHAEL BRADLEY
DOMINATED: Cathrin Latu and Maria Tutaia overshadowed by Magic defender Casey Kopua.

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At least there's no excuses.

After two of their worst performances in the history of the trans-Tasman competition, the Northern Mystics shooters have accepted responsibility for their failings.

This is not what you expect from a previously slick combination.

In the Mystics' opening two losses, Maria Tutaia has shot just 29 from 49 attempts. Her Silver Ferns partner, Cathrine Latu, 23 from 31. Their combined form has been a major factor in the Mystics' surprisingly low output - scoring 34 and 36 goals, respectively, in the first two rounds.

And, to get off the doughnut, they realise that has to change.

"That wasn't good enough," Latu said.

"We have been beating ourselves up more than anyone else. We know it's not good enough individually, and as a combination. Usually when one of us is off, the other is there to pick it up. We've both been off at the same time. It's been a shambles. We definitely don't want to do that again so we've been working really hard."

In the Melbourne Vixens and Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic, the Mystics have probably faced the two best defensive teams. But they're unlikely to have an easy ride against the Central Pulse in Auckland today. Te Huinga Selby-Rickit and Katrina Grant, in particular, know the shooters' traits.

Having been together for four years, there are also concerns Tutaia and Latu have become too predictable. After a much-needed honesty session last week, they hope to have developed new dimensions to throw at the Pulse.

"That's what we've been doing this week. We had a serious sit down, just her [Tutaia] and I," Latu said.

"We spoke about the fact we've been together for a while. We need to change things up, do things that are uncharacteristic. To survive in this game you've got to be able to change. It's been working well at training so, hopefully, it comes off."

Laura Langman's shift from the Magic also hasn't had the impact most expected. Langman's talents were supposed to immediately link with the star shooters.

"It's been tough for her trying to link in with a new wing attack," Latu said.

"She's had experience with us but only in the internationals. It was a bit of an information overload when she first turned up. We've had the same amount of time as everyone else. We just need to get a connection going."

The Mystics are likely to be without star defender Anna Harrison for another week, too. Harrison hasn't played a full game for 14 months. Resuming this year after giving birth, a foot injury struck her down during preseason. The Mystics continue to take a cautious approach. They don't want to rush Harrison back and lose her for the rest of the season.

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"I'd like to think I'll make a difference but I haven't played netball for a long time," Harrison said.

"There's a few things we need to tweak. We don't need to change the world. If we can nail those there's not much of a problem overall."

GAME TIMES

Sunday: West Coast Fever v Canterbury Tactix at 4:18pm, Melbourne Vixens v Queensland Firebirds at 4:18pm, Northern Mystics v Central Pulse at 7:20pm.

Monday: Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic v Southern Steel at 7:40pm, Adelaide Thunderbirds v NSW Swifts at 9:48pm.

- Sunday News

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