Australia 153 goals
New Zealand 127 goals
The pressure is now on the Mercury Energy Tactix and LG Mystics to turnaround the significant 26 goal deficit, if the New Zealand teams are to claim their first Rivalry Round Trophy. All will be revealed when they line up against the Melbourne Vixens and Queensland Firebirds in their respective games tonight.
How the round has unfolded
New Zealand drew first blood when the Waikato / Bay of Plenty Magic defeated the ever-determined and increasingly impressive West Coast Fever, who had made the long trek from Perth to Hamilton for Saturday afternoon’s game.
After a tight first half, the Fever led by just one goal at half-time. However the WBOP Magic put on a dazzling display in the third quarter, scoring 18 goals to the visitors’ 11. Irene van Dyk was in sterling form, shooting 42 goals from 43 attempts for a 98% success rate.
In spite of a courageous attempt by the Fever in the final quarter, the WBOP Magic held on to win 55-50, giving New Zealand an early lead in the chase for the Rivalry Round Trophy.
With a five goal buffer over the Australians going in to the second game of the round, the Haier Pulse came out storming against the NSW Swifts in the Sydney-siders’ first home game for the season. In the final stages of the second quarter, it looked as though there may be a boil-over result, with the Pulse extending their lead to as much as seven goals.
However, as the Swifts’ shooters Catherine Cox and Susan Pratley found their accuracy, the tide turned in the opening minutes of the third quarter, the home team quickly notching up ten unanswered goals. In spite of a determined effort by the visitors, the Swifts stormed home to win by 14 goals, catapulting Australia to a nine goal lead in the Rivalry Round tally.
In Sunday afternoon’s game, the Adelaide Thunderbirds met the Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel at South Australia’s ETSA Park.
Determined to secure their first win on Australian soil, the Steel came out strongly. However the Thunderbirds were equally determined to add a second win to their 2010 season, and the intensity from both sides was on from the start.
Going in to the final quarter, the Thunderbirds led by just three goals. However the home team ignited the court in the final fifteen minutes, shooting a remarkable 19 goals to the Steels’ five. Carla Borrego led the charge, missing just one of her 18 attempts at goal.
With a final score of 53-36, the Rivalry Round tally blew out to Australia 153 and New Zealand 127.
Monday night’s deciding games
The finale of Rivalry Round will be played out in two stages; first in Christchurch, where the Mercury Energy Tactix will meet the powerhouse Melbourne Vixens, and then in Brisbane, which will see the Queensland Firebirds take on the LG Mystics in the penultimate game of Rivalry Round 2010.
The 2010 Rivalry Round Trophy will be presented by Jan Maggacis, President of Netball Queensland, at the conclusion of the tonight’s game in Brisbane.
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