A five-goal lead in the final quarter wasn’t enough for the Northern Stars to hold off a determined Silvermoon Tactix side in round one of the 2018 ANZ Premiership.

The Canterbury side won the final ‘Super Sunday’ match 60-61, in Palmerston North.

A communication error between Paula Griffin and Maia Wilson squandered the chance to tie up the game at the end of extra time.

Griffin who made a return to top domestic level netball after a year off, said post match that identifying those critical moments is something the team are working on.

“I didn’t even think to look at the post, but I won’t do it again,” says Griffin.

“After taking a break from the game I wanted to come back with vengeance, I’m really proud of our team.”

Griffin was introduced into the match in the second quarter, coming in for Ellen Halpenny who shot at 71% in the opening stanza.

The Northern Stars started the match slowly before kicking into gear in the second quarter to go to the half time break with a 25-24 lead.

Another player making immediate impact was Holly Fowler who spent 2017 on the sidelines due to injury.

Fowler picked up four deflections and provided valuable through court drive at goal defence in her two and a half quarters on court.

The return of captain Grace Rasmussen and Ama Agbeze from Commonwealth Games duty was a highlight of the match, with assistant coach Temepara Bailey impressed with how the two senior players performed.

“They came back in nicely, considering the limited time we’ve had with them during pre-season, I was impressed with some smooth swift stuff on attack,” says Bailey.

Maia Wilson continued to be a strong pillar under the post again for the Stars. The twenty year-old sunk 36 from 44 attempts to hold her own against Jane Watson and Temelisi Fakahokotau.

The introduction of Ellie Bird for the Silvermoon Tactix after halftime proved a tall tale for the Stars to combat, as Kate Burley and Olivia Coughlin took turns at combatting the tallest player in the competition at 196cm.

A highlight for the stars was the midcourt attacking combinations of Kara and training partner Emma Iversen.

The confidence in feeding from Kara and Iversen into the Stars shooting circle grew as the match wore on whilst Fa’amu Ioane provided notable attacking support and defensive pressure to limit the impact of Silvermoon Tactix wing attack Erikana Pedersen.

Next up for the Northern Stars is the SKYCITY Northern Mystics on Sunday 13th May at Trusts Arena. The match will be the first of three games in the Barfoot & Thompson Northern Challenge. READ