© New Zealand Broadcasting School 2020

Tactix resurgence scores final in Invercargill

Jessica Dermody
Mainland Tactix vs Northern Stars
Mainland Tactix vs Northern Stars, Horncastle Arena  Jessica Dermody

For the first time ever the Tactix are in the ANZ Premiership Grand final.

It's quite the statement from the Mainland zone, which went into voluntary liquidation during lockdown and lost all management staff apart from head coach, Marianne Delaney-Hoshek. 

There will be no home advantage for either teams in the final, as the Good Oil Tactix will be lining up against the Te Wananga O Raukawa Central Pulse (based in Wellington) on August 23 in Invercargill. 

Netball New Zealand decided the final game would be played at Invercargill's ILT Stadium due to a number of circumstances surrounding Covid-19 such as venue and accommodation availability.

Netball New Zealand Head of Events and International Kate Agnew said securing a venue for the finals had been a top priority. 

"We feel that we have tried to give certainty to all the teams, so regardless of the position on the ladder or what game they are playing off for, there was certainty about where the event was going to be held and people can plan accordingly."

Agnew was excited to see the Southern crowd in action and said support for the finals weekend was already high. 

"We know that Southland and Otago really love their sport and they are a very knowledgeable sporting crowd.... We already are getting good support, we have had fantastic support as well from Southland, across the ILT (Invercargill Licensing Trust), in order to bring these matches to Southland."

More than 5000 fans supported the Tactix at their only home game this season. The packed house was a record for an ANZ Premiership game at Horncastle Arena and testament to the improved Tactix unit, who are currently on their longest winning streak ever with four wins in a row. Their longest losing streak is 11 games.  

Te Paea Selby-Rickit, a Tactix and Silver Ferns shooter, said the team had hit peak performance just in time for the final. 

"We started off (a bit) shaky but I suppose that was to be expected with new combinations... as the season has gone on I feel like we have definitely grown and those connections have been building and building."

Selby-Rickit will be right at home in front of a passionate Southern crowd, albeit in the new red dress. 

"I am hoping that the crowd will be on our side, all the Steel fans will hopefully go for us. Obviously I have played there so many times so I know I love playing in Southland, I love the fans there, they get so involved."

Pulse coach Yvette McCausland-Durie said her team is ready for the rematch, after losing 39-32 to the Tactix. 

"We are fully focused on those little (things) that we can control, and be ready to make a difference when we head into that final match, should it go ahead."

The ANZ Premiership has not yet released an update about the upcoming games in relation to Covid-19 levels. 

Good Oil Mainland Tactix, 2020.
Good Oil Mainland Tactix, 2020. Good Oil Mainland Tactix, 2020, Facebook @MainlandTactix