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League leaders in dominant form

Central Manawa captain Renee Savai’inaea sounded some warning bells for those chasing in the Beko Netball League as she asks for improvement from her victorious side.

The defending champions were in dominant form in their 64-32 win over the Northern Marvels at The Trusts Arena in Auckland on Sunday. The victory saw them hold top spot on the Beko League ladder ahead of Waikato-BOP who withstood a fast finishing Northern Comets for a 53-50 win at home.

Central controlled play from the opening whistles in Auckland and were superior in every area of the court, but Savai’inaea believes there is room for improvement from her side.

“I definitely think it was a good performance overall as a team but I definitely think we could do better and improve on some of those little things,” she said.

“It’s just maybe focusing on the accuracy of our pass and possession on our centre pass attack.”

It proved a tough afternoon for the Marvels and captain Tayla Foster said they were working hard to bed in a number of new combinations.

They are getting used to life without towering shooter Grace Nweke who, this week, was added to the Northern Mystics squad for the remainder of the ANZ Premiership.

SEE: DRAW, RESULTS and MORE

The Marvels new attacking connections have taken time to come together and were given a dogged test against a smothering Central defence.

“We had two brand new players in with us today so maybe we should have eased them in more and gone for the safer options,” Foster said. “From our pre-season to now the team’s changed a lot so it’s back to the re-building stage again.”

The hosts were also fielding a new look on defence with former Northern Stars and The Good Oil Tactix defender Olivia Coughlan called in as a temporary replacement.

She combined well with Nanise Waqaira and the duo was given a thorough work-out with Central enjoying a wealth of possession.

Central wing Maddy Gordon, who along with Elle Temu made a rare appearance for the Manawa team, was a stand-out for the victors with her speed and vision into the circle earning her an MVP award.

She hustled just as much on defence alongside captain and centre Renee Savai’inaea who picked up five intercepts and 11 deflections between them.

But it was the defensive effort throughout the court and Central’s ability to quickly swing onto attack which proved the difference as their lead was never challenged.

Central forced the Marvels into numerous early errors as they raced out to a 14-6 first quarter lead.

The long reach of Temu and her ability to read play often smothered the Marvels attempts to deliver ball smoothly into the shooting circle.

Central led 30-12 at the main break and with a 25-goal advantage at the three-quarter mark, coach Pelesa Semu went to her bench for a number of changes.

It did little to stop the scoreboard from ticking over with Central winning the final quarter by seven goals.

Results:

Central Manawa 64 (Grace McLean 25/34, Saviour Tui 35/41, Monalisa Groom 4/7) beat Northern Marvels 32 (Maine-Crystal Maro 14/19, Filda Vui 18/25, Hannah Ward 0/1). Quarter scores: 14-6, 30-12, 45-20, 64-32.

Waikato-BOP 53 (Khiarna Williams 33/36, Abigail Latu-Meafou 11/14, Eden Anderson 9/10) beat Northern Comets 50 (Christie Anderson 21/24, Ivana Rowland 24/31, Vika Koloto 5/9). Quarter scores: 17-11, 25-24, 40-35, 53-50.