THE Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic exorcised their biggest demon last night with a thrashing of the NSW Swifts.
The thumping 18-goal win at Hamilton’s Mystery Creek Events Centre moves the Magic to the top of the table on goal difference over the only other unbeaten team, the Melbourne Vixens.
Magic captain Joline Henry was delighted with her team’s showing. "We knew this was a biggie for us, and we wanted to assert some dominance," she said.
And they did.
The Magic effectively won the game in the first quarter with their best 15 minutes of a season-and-a-quarter of ANZ Championship netball. Casey Williams showed why she is the world’s best netballer, Henry was spectacular and the Magic’s shooting brilliant.
On the back of perfect shooting from both Maria Tutaia and Irene van Dyk, and exceptional full-court defence, the home side led 19-7 at the first break.
Van Dyk had her second consecutive perfect shooting game and it has now been more than 120 minutes of netball since she missed her last shot.
Three stepping calls and dubious passing in the first quarter did not help the defending champions – the Swifts looked woeful compared to a completely dominant Magic side.
The Swifts’ depth was tested when Rebecca Bulley went off injured. Replacement Samantha May appeared out of her depth as Magic wing attack Frances Solia ran rings around her.
The home side had to work hard to keep a fired-up Swifts at bay in the second spell and despite the visitors going on a five-goal run in the middle of the quarter, the Magic extended by another goal to lead 32-19 at half-time.
Yet while the NSW team needed to come out flying in the second half to have any hope of saving the game, the Magic scored the first five goals of the third spell.
Swifts captain Catherine Cox (ankle) and Bulley (gash above eye) left the court late in the second quarter and while the team lost some edge with their departures, the game was well and truly lost by then.