Netball: Northern Mystics overpower Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic in 2024 ANZ Premiership season opener

The defending champion Northern Mystics have put all teams on notice after rallying back from a slow start to post a 64-52 win over the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic in the ANZ Premiership netball opener in Hamilton.   

With multiple changes to their team this year including the new shooting combination of Ameliaranne Ekenasio and Saviour Tui, the Magic showed plenty of promise during an enterprising first half, proving they will be a real threat going forward.  

Talented young defender Catherine Hall relished her first start for the Mystics when pairing up with the experienced Silver Fern Phoenix Karaka to put the early squeeze on the home side's shooters, but it didn't take long for the Magic to hit their straps.

Georgie Edgecombe of the Magic and Peta Toeava of the Mystics.
Georgie Edgecombe of the Magic and Peta Toeava of the Mystics. Photo credit: Photosport

Tui and Ekenasio worked seamlessly in tandem through their timing and speed while at the other end, the Magic were able to pick up defensive turnovers to wrest a 16-14 lead at the first break.  

The Mystics levelled up early on after the resumption with a real arm wrestle setting the tone for the rest of the stanza.  

Let down by errors on attack, the Mystics struggled for consistency, the Magic mixing and matching their midcourt options to keep the visitors guessing.   

With neither side giving an inch and Tui continuing to impress with her volume and accuracy, the Magic kept their noses in front when taking a tenuous 31-30 lead into the main break.  

The home side couldn't have asked for a better start to the third quarter, stringing together four straight goals to forge the biggest lead of the game when building a five-goal buffer.

However just as quickly, the Mystics clicked into overdrive, the delivery of quality ball from midcourters Peta Toeava and Tayla Earle into the reliable hands of Grace Nweke provided the defending champions the scope to mount a comeback. 

The introduction of shooter Hannah Glen and defender Carys Stythe changed the dynamics for the Mystics as the Magic lost their shape under constant pressure.  

The Mystics produced an 11-1 scoring run and open up a 47-41 lead. Nweke's 50 goals helping the visitors cruise home in the final quarter.  

Mystics captain Mikaela Sokolich-Beatson and Magic defender Oceane Maihi both copped two-minute suspensions for dangerous play during the match, a new rule introduced into the ANZ Premiership in 2024.   

Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic: 52
Northern Mystics: 64