Tactix shooters look to outfox Melbourne Vixens
Tactix skipper Anna Thompson believes they have enough variation in their shooting end to combat the Melbourne Vixens' outstanding defensive duo.
Thompson was moved from her usual role in the midcourt to goal attack in last week's 55-53 upset victory over the Pulse in Napier.
The experienced Thompson teamed up effectively with Malawi international Mwai Kumwenda, who starred with 47 goals from 52 attempts.
Despite shooting 8/15, Thompson had a strong all-around game, delivering some accurate feeds into Kumwenda and opening up space at the shooting end. She also knocked down several important long bombs in the final quarter to steer the Tactix to their first win of 2014.
Life does not get any easier at CBS Canterbury Arena tonight with the Tactix shooters lining up against one of the best defensive partnerships in the Trans-Tasman Netball League in English international Geva Mentor and 54-cap Australian Diamond Bianca Chatfield.
The match-up will have a major bearing on the final outcome and Thompson said they were ready for a torrid encounter.
"They are a pretty formidable pairing ... We're expecting their physicality to come out. They're such strong players on the ball and looking for those intercepts."
Thompson's preparation for the game did not change too much, knowing she would be starting at goal attack. She puts up 1200 shots each week at training, even when playing in the midcourt.
Kumwenda has made an excellent beginning to her Tactix career, landing 141 goals from her first four games at 93 per cent.
The 24-year-old will be familiar to the Vixens having spent the past three years living in Melbourne, where she has been playing club netball for the Peninsula Waves.
The Vixens will have spent plenty of time concentrating on ways to minimise her effectiveness, which may mean Thompson has to take on greater responsibility.
"We're expecting them to really put the pressure on Mwai. Any team would do that.
"We've got different tools in our toolbox that we can use to ensure she's not under pressure too much and that we can create some space for her in there."
This week, the Tactix have stressed the importance of backing up their win over the Pulse and proving it was not a one-off performance.
The franchise have won two games in succession only three times in their history, something they would dearly love to achieve tonight. Thompson said the Vixens would be desperate after losing their last two games at home and the Tactix could not afford to start slowly against them.
"The girls are definitely keen to for us to put our hand up and be really proud of what we're putting out on court.
"We've got to believe in ourselves that we can do it and put a performance on court that we know we're capable of."
The Tactix have not beaten the Vixens before in six previous meetings.