Mainland to meet buoyant WBOP in Beko Netball League
Hellers Netball Mainland coach Marianne Delaney-Hoshek is wary of a resurgent Netball Waikato Bay of Plenty (WBOP) side when they clash in the latest round of the Beko Netball League.
Her side host the WBOP side at the Horncastle Arena in Christchurch on Sunday – an opponent fresh from its first win of the season.
All six teams are in action over the weekend with the other two games to be played at the High Wire Gymnasium in Papakura where the table-topping Netball Central take on the Northern Marvels and Netball South meet the High Wire Trust Northern Comets.
Mainland sits second on the league ladder after four rounds while WBOP are in fourth courtesy of a thrilling two-goal win over the Northern Marvels last week.
“They will have got a lot of confidence out of that result,” Delaney-Hoshek said. “We know they’ve got three WBOP Magic players in their side which make it tough. They are a quality side.”
Defender Alex MacLeod-Smith – who was a member of last year’s Mainland side – Grace Kukutai in the mid-court and shooter Amorangi Malesala were all key performers in WBOP’s win.
But it is not just the ANZ Premiership players who are set to excite with the match-up between WBOP captain Micaela Ashford and Mainland wing Tiana Placid – who missed her team’s Round 3 game – a clash to watch.
Mainland are however also hungry for victory after coming off a narrow loss to Central in their latest outing.
“They are the team that everyone probably wants to beat but I think we’ve got a good gauge on (Central) now that we’ve seen them and can move forward,” Delaney-Hoshek said.
“We’ve looked back at the game and knew there were a couple of opportunities where we could have won the game.”
She felt they “persisted” with the game plan of the long ball into towering shooter Ellie Bird even after the Central defenders started picking up possession.
“That’s something we’ve talked about – our short game and being able to adjust when we need to.”
She was pleased with the strong finish from her side which left them on a high, despite the defeat, and said the players were keen to get back on court.
Delaney-Hoshek has been juggling the demands of guiding the Mainland team through the Beko Netball League and as assistant to the Silvermoon Tactix in the ANZ Premiership.
“I’m really enjoying the challenge. It’s a busy time – you’re on one bench, have a few minutes to change and then you’re back on the next bench,” she said with a laugh. “But we’ve got a great group of girls and they want to see how far they can push themselves.”