Netball: Mainland Tactix secure much needed ANZ Premiership win over COVID-19 hit Southern Steel to move off bottom of the table

Ellie Bird competes for the ball against Southern Steel.
Ellie Bird competes for the ball against Southern Steel. Photo credit: Image - Photosport

Mainland Tactix have moved off the bottom of the ANZ Premiership ladder, thanks to a 63-52 victory over Southern Steel in Invercargill.

Postponed to Wednesday night due to positive COVID-19 cases in the Steel squad, the Tactix did what they needed to do against their depleted opponents, with victory keeping their finals hopes alive and snapping a three-match losing streak.

Ellie Bird led the way inside the shooting circle with 49 from 53 attempts, supported by 14 from 20 to Te Paea Selby-Rickit.

Te Paea Selby-Rickit.
Te Paea Selby-Rickit. Photo credit: Image - Photosport

The Tactix's efforts were aided by the fact the Steel were without the likes of Sarapheinna Woulf, Kate Burley and Renee Savai'inaea for Wednesday's encounter, all missing due to COVID.

But despite any perceived defensive frailties, the Steel stayed in the contest right until the final quarter, trailing by one at the end of the first period at 15-14, and 31-27 at halftime.

Import George Fisher's efforts inside the circle proved crucial for the Steel, landing 33 from 36 attempts, backed up by Saviour Tui (11/14) and Georgia Heffernan (8/10).

But the final quarter proved one hurdle too far for the depleted Steel. Entering the last 15 minutes down 49-40, the Steel were outscored 14-12 to fall to defeat for the third time this season.

The Steel currently sit third on the ladder, with 12 points from their first seven games of the season, ahead of Northern Stars courtesy of goal differential.

The southerners also have two games in hand over second-placed Central Pulse, and one in hand over the league-leading Northern Mystics.

The Tactix meanwhile secured just their second victory of 2022, enough to see them overtake Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic into fifth place, having played one game more.

Tactix 63 (Bird 49, Selby-Rickit 14)

Steel 52 (Fisher 33, Tui 11, Heffernan 8)