The Tactix are in for a long trans-Tasman netball league season after copping a 79-43 drubbing against the West Coast Fever in Perth today.
It was an error-ridden performance from the Tactix, who had never previously won in Australia from 15 attempts, heading into the clash.
The Norma Plummer-coached Fever had made a disappointing start to the season dropping their opening two games and they responded in the best possible way. They went close to breaking the competition's highest score in a game, which is 80 goals.
For the Tactix, the 36-goal thrashing was their second largest loss in a game, with only a 43-goal away loss to the Queensland Firebirds in 2010 being worse.
The Tactix have now lost their opening three games of the season and supporters will rightfully be wondering how they are going to win a match this year.
The damage was effectively done in the second quarter, where the Fever built on an eight-goal first quarter lead, outscoring the Tactix 24-9. That saw them take a whopping 42-19 advantage into the halftime break.
Tactix coach Leigh Gibbs would have been fuming with her side's first half display. They committed a staggering 21 turnovers in the opening 30 minutes, making basic stepping and breaking mistakes, as well as frittering away possession.
Their defensive pressure through the court was also poor with Fever shooters Caitlin Bassett and Natalie Medhurst racking up the goals with ease. Bassett had an afternoon to remember, slotting 57 from 63 attempts.
What was most concerning for the Tactix was the way the Fever shut down shooting lynchpin Mwai Kumwenda. After landing 46 goals last week, Kumwenda was regularly doubled teamed, limiting her effectiveness. She had to venture out of the circle looking for the ball and was held to just 19/21 goals for the game.
Gibbs rung the changes at halftime injecting midcourter Keshia Grant and defender Jess Moulds into the game. The Tactix made an improved beginning to the second half, going goal for goal with the Fever in the third quarter. Normal service resumed in the final term, though, with the Fever putting 23 goals the hoop as they chased the league's goal-scoring record.
The Tactix will take some solace from their second half showing into next Sunday's game against the Central Pulse in Napier. They displayed increased commitment after halftime, but the Fever were always comfortably in charge.
Jade Clarke was the best Tactix player on court, toiling hard in the midcourt until she was taken off in the final quarter.
- Fairfax Media
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