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Northern Marvels eye up Beko Netball League points

The Northern Marvels have an opportunity to put the brakes on the Beko Netball League’s frontrunners when they suit up for Round 4.

They host Netball Waikato Bay of Plenty (WBOP) at The Trusts Arena in Auckland on Sunday where victory would propel them into second-equal spot alongside Netball Mainland and within three points of the table topping Netball Central side.

Both the Marvels and WBOP are coming off narrow defeats – gaining a bonus point for coming within five goals but ruing the three points which slipped away.

The Marvels had a five-goal lead heading into the fourth quarter against their netballing neighbours, the High Wire Trust Northern Comets, but six straight goals from the latter in the last few minutes before the final whistle turned the game.

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Defender Elle Temu, who made last year’s national secondary schools team, is one to watch at the back of the Marvels’ court where she picked up nine deflections and four intercepts against the Comets.

Her match-up against WBOP shooter Amorangi Malesala is set to entertain with the latter strong and accurate in the shooting circle.

Temu’s combination with former SKYCITY Mystics defender Jess Bourke will be tough to penetrate however and all eyes will be on how WBOP’s forward line functions.

The visitors will be out to build on the strong start they had against Netball South in Round 2 before a lull late in the third quarter swung the game the way of the defending champions who went on to win the match by two goals.

WBOP coach Rebecca Greenhalgh had the services of three ANZ Premiership players against South including Malesala in the shooting circle, defender Alex McLeod-Smith and mid-courter Grace Kukutai – the latter two both getting substantial court time for the Magic last week.

The other four league teams get a break this weekend but will be back on court next week with all six teams in action.

It is the second season of the Beko Netball League – where teams play a double round-robin – with this year’s Grand Final to be played at The Trusts Arena in Auckland on June 18.