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The Magic have pulled off another
gritty finals performance to beat the
Northern Mystics 57-54 for the New
Zealand conference title — but the
bigger prize awaits them next week with
the Waikato-Bay of Plenty side securing
a crucial home semi-final.
The Mystics have set the pace in the
New Zealand netball conference all
year, but the Magic, who only two days
earlier dispatched the Southern Steel in
the elimination final, once again showed
their play-offs prestige.
In a match evenly poised throughout,
the Magic stormed home in the final
quarter, outscoring the Mystics 16-11
for the period to claim the competition’s
newest piece of silver ware.
The loss does not rule the Mystics
out of title contention, with both
sides advancing through to the semi-
finals under the new finals format. But
blocking their path to the grand final
are Australian conference winners,
Queensland Firebirds, who are unbeaten
since round one this season.
The Auckland side will take on
the Firebirds in Brisbane on Sunday
afternoon, while the Magic will host
the NSW Swifts later in the day in the
The Magic, who pulled off a gruelling
overtime win against the Steel in
the weekend’s elimination final, had
just two days to recover. The tight
turnaround raised doubts as to whether
star defender Casey Kopua would be
ready as her workload continues to be
carefully managed as she returns from
a serious knee injury. But Kopua once
again defied expectations, playing 60
minutes at goal defence in her first full
match since she returned to the court
three weeks ago.
The frenetic pace of the match and
the physicality in the Mystics shooting
circle ensured Kopua received her most
thorough examination yet, and the Silver
Ferns star produced a gallant effort,
picking up six deflections and generally
heavily involved on defence.
The Auckland side caught the Magic
off-guard with a rampant opening
quarter when the two sides last met back
in round 12, holding a nine-goal lead by
the end of the first spell. The Mystics did
not win another quarter after that, but
their opening 15-minute blitz proved
enough to carry them through for the
That game perhaps told the story of
the Mystics entire season — brilliant
in patches, indifferent in others, but just
enough to get them by.
After their previous encounter the
Magic did not let the Mystics get the
jump on them again, and ensured they
matched the home side’s intensity from
In a high-scoring opening to the match
dominated by the shooters, the two sides
went goal-for-goal, then three-goal
flurry for three-goal flurry.
The Magic noses were just in front,
16-15 at quarter-time, but the visitors
broke free early in the second spell,
opening the quarter with a 5-0 run as
the reunited defensive pairing of Kopua
and Leana de Bruin began to find their
The Mystics were able to reset
themselves on attack however, with
midcourt general Laura Langman doing
a good job of settling the play and taking
a more patient approach. Langman and
fellow midcourter Serena Guthrie were
also influential on defence.
The extra defensive gains helped the
Mystics square the ledger at 28-28
heading into the second half. But they
could not maintain their rhythm, as the
Magic pegged a five-goal deficit back to
two heading into the final period.
— New Zealand Herald
Tuesday, June 9, 2015
PICTURE: Getty Images
Magic’s Casey Kopua falls awkwardly in last night ’s clash with the Mystics at The Trusts Arena in Auckland.
Three current and two former
Greymouth powerlifters took out
top placings at the South Island
Powerlifting Championships, in
Christchurch at the weekend.
Steve Barnes won the 74kg
masters two class when he lifted
150kg in the squat, 135kg in
the benchpress and a 170kg
powerlift. Barnes was in top form
when he also broke the New
Zealand record in his class in the
Kenny Hawes took out third
place in the open men’s 83kg
class. He lifted 165kg in the
squat, 92.5kg in the benchpress
and 270kg in the deadlift.
In the open men’s 93kg class,
Sam Coleman lifted himself into
second place with a 235kg squat,
175kg benchpress and a 270kg
Former Greymouth lifters Matt
Gardyne and Andrew Thomas
were also in top form. Gardyne
won the trophy for the best male
lifter of the contest and the best
equipped lifter. He was first in
the open men’s 93kg class, lifting
270kg in the squat, 202.5kg in the
benchpress and a 265kg deadlift.
Thomas took out a New
Zealand record in the benchpress
with a 243kg lift and by doing
so he became the first in New
Zealand to benchpress three
times his bodyweight.
He was first in the junior
men’s 83kg class after lifting
205kg in the squat, 243kg in
the benchpress and a 200kg
Three tries in the space of six
minutes by Gavin Cooper has
helped lift North Queensland to a
miracle 36-30 win over Parramatta
at Pirtek Stadium last night.
The Eels had powered their way
to a 30-6 lead when Chris Sandow
potted a penalty goal with just
under half an hour remaining. But
the visitors crossed for a stunning
five tries in 11 minutes, equalling
the third-biggest comeback in NRL
history and extending their club
record winning streak to ten.
Making matters worse for the
Eels, concussed skipper Tim
Mannah was taken from the field in
a medicab after an attempted tackle
on Matt Scott late in the match.
The Eels looked headed for an
easy win when Semi Radradra
finished off a sensational 90m try
that he began with an offload deep
in his own territory.
Sandow kicked the lead out to 24
points in the 53rd minute before
a Radradra mistake on tackle one
allowed Matt Wright to dive over
in the 57th.
From there the Cowboys ran in
24 unanswered points in quick
succession, the first 12 of which
came from Cooper pouncing on
two similar Johnathan Thurston
dinks into the in-goal.
nabbed his third when Will
Hopoate spilled a Thurston bomb,
and then he helped complete the
comeback when he broke through
the line and found a supporting
Lachlan Coote, who kicked ahead
for Kane Linnett in the 68th.
The Eels had burst out of the
blocks with a try in the third
minute, shifting the ball inside their
own territory before Corey Norman
eventually crossed under the posts.
More up tempo play allowed
Norman to earn his team a penalty
goal six minutes later, and then
three charging Radradra carries
and two offloads in one set ended
in Takairangi going over in the 31st.
The visitors got one against the
run of play when Michael Morgan
jinked through some soft defence
however the Eels replied shortly
after when Manu Ma’u cannoned
over the tryline. Another Radradra
try on the stroke of half-time kicked
the lead out to 24-6.
Thurston said it was the best
comeback win of his career and
paid tribute to his left-edge second-
“I can’t remember chasing down
that type of margin,” he said.
“But Gavin Cooper
outstanding on our left edge, both
in attack and in ‘D’, just punching
through the line there.
“I can’t remember scoring that
amount of tries in that kind of space
of minutes. We need to be better in
some areas, but going into the bye
with a win is how you want to be.”
Eels coach Brad Arthur conceded
the Eels have a major problem
with mentally staying in games for
80 minutes and accused players of
checking out at certain stages of the
match. “ We drop our heads, we hear
the footsteps coming and we just
can’t wrestle it back,” he said.
“ When you only play 70 minutes,
you’re not going to win. We’ve got
to learn to play for 80 minutes.
Hooker Nathan Peats described
the loss succinctly.
“ To score four tries off kicks is
pretty pathetic if you ask me,” he
said. — AAP
New Zealand heavyweight boxer
Joseph Parker will have Jerry Collins
in the back of his mind when he
meets Germany ’s Yakup Saglam in
Palmerston North on Saturday.
Parker’s career is developing at
a rapid rate and the experienced
Saglam (34-3, 1 NC) is the latest
roadblock that has been put in
his path. Do not let that imposing
record fool you, while he has plenty
of wins on his resume, Saglam has
rarely fought notable opponents. His
biggest fights, in terms of credibility,
came against Odlanier Solis (20-3)
and Manuel Charr (28-3) but he
lost both via stoppage inside seven
Parker (13-0) was one of the many
athletes that was shocked to hear
the news about Collins. The former
All Black died in a car accident in
France last week, alongside his
partner Alana Madill; their infant
child Ayla remains in hospital.
The south Auckland-raised Parker
has Samoan parents and described
Collins as a “brother” of his, often
referred to as ‘uso’ in Samoan. The
pair first met in 2012.
“I’m going to dedicate this fight to
the uso,” Parker said. “Jerry Collins
was one of the guys that I looked
up to and then when I got the
opportunity to meet him for the first
time, I was excited. We took a lot of
photos together. He was a nice guy
“ We partied together at times and
chilled together. I have a lot of good
memories of Jerry Collins.”
This weekend’s bout will be
Parker’s first since he worked with
Wladimir Klitschko (64-3) before
his successful title defence in April
against American Bryant Jennings
(19-1). “Sparring Klitschko was a
big confidence boost for me,” Parker
said. “My body’s feeling strong, my
fitness is awesome.”
Parker has added swimming to his
training regime, which he said had
helped his breathing.
Saglam, a 38-year-old who
is pegged as the 84th-ranked
heavyweight in the world by
respected website Boxrec — Parker
is billed at No 22 — has a penchant
for finishing his sub-standard
opponents early with big punches.
Moses Mbye announced himself as
an NRL star in Canterbury’s 29-16
NRL win over St George Illawarra at
ANZ Stadium yesterday.
In an action-packed game,
inspirational Bulldogs skipper James
Graham suffered a worrying hamstring
injury and Brett Morris staked his
claim for a NSW jumper in his return
from his own hamstring problem.
However it was Mbye who stole the
show, icing the match with a field goal
after being handed the starting five-
eighth spot ahead of Josh Reynolds.
Mbye slotted the 75th minute effort
after Bulldogs coach Des Hasler started
him ahead of the former NSW pivot.
The Bulldogs were dealt a massive
early blow when inspirational skipper
James Graham left the field in his
Graham lasted just 17 minutes in his
comeback from a knee injury and did
not return after going immediately up
the tunnel. He will have scans today to
determine the extent of the injury.
Brett Morris showed no ill-effects of
his hamstring injury when he stopped
what appeared to be a certain Eto
Nabuli try early in the first half and
looks set to take his place in Laurie
Daley ’s side for State of Origin II.
For the fifth time this year, Bulldogs
winger Curtis Rona crossed for the first
try of the game, his 13th four-pointer
in 12 games.
Mbye repaid the faith shown in him
by Hasler with the young Queenslander
putting in a starring performance,
almost scoring when he showed great
pace to chase down a Trent Hodkinson
kick. He put his side further in front
when he produced a beautiful cut-out
pass to Rona, who grubbered ahead for
Josh Morris for a 10-0 lead.
While it was all Bulldogs in the first
30 minutes, the Dragons took the
lead when Benji Marshall and Gareth
Widdop combined for two tries either
side of half-time.
On both occasions Marshall went out
the back for Widdop to score as the
Dragons took a 12-10 lead at the 46
minute mark.The Dragons went further
in front when Widdop produced a
wonderful chip kick which bounced up
perfectly for Peter Mata’utia.
When Reynolds finally came onto the
field in the 69th minute, he produced
several big plays to help the Bulldogs
over the line.
The Bulldogs set up a grandstand
finish when Brett Morris threw a wild
inside pass for Tim Lafai, who picked
it up from the ground, rolled over the
line and barely touched the stripe with
Mbye showed his calmness under
pressure when he slotted a sideline
conversion to even things up before
the Bulldogs went ahead when Sam
Kasiano sent over Tim Browne.
Browne’s try came off the back of
Reynolds chasing his own kick and
trapping Josh Dugan in goal.
Mbye showed great poise to slot the
all-important field goal under pressure
before a Sam Kasiano try sealed the
win. — AAP
Andrew Fifita and Daniel Tupou
have been dumped from the NSW
side for State of Origin II for
returning duo Paul Gallen and
The Blues side was named today
for the MCG clash, with Gallen’s
and Morris’ inclusions a huge boost
for NSW after the pair missed the
Blues’ loss in the series opener due
Sydney Roosters winger Tupou
has made way for Morris, with
captain Gallen’s move into the
back-row pushing Josh Jackson to
the bench and Fifita out of the side.
Hooker Robbie Farah is a near
certain starter for the match on
June 17 as he recovers from a
shoulder injury suffered in game I.
“ Robbie will train tomorrow with
the rest of the group,” coach Laurie
Daley said after the announcement.
“ It’s pretty important to go into
an Origin preparation with training
under your belt and Rob’s an
“ He’ll do a bit of training with
the group tomorrow and Thursday,
and I’m sure like everyone we’re
all excited about the challenge for
game II. We’ve got a really good
group of guys that ’s up for the
challenge and we’ ll be prepared
The Blues fly to Coffs Harbour
today to begin preparations for the
Josh Dugan, Brett
Morris, Josh Morris, Michael
Jennings, Will Hopoate, Mitchell
Pearce, Trent Hodkinson, James
Tamou, Robbie Farah, Aaron
Woods, Beau Scott, Ryan Hoffman,
Paul Gallen (c). Interchange:
Josh Jackson, Trent Merrin, Boyd
Cordner, David Klemmer.
Magic lines up home semi
Current and former Greymouth powerlifters — Andrew Thomas, back left, Matt Gardyne, Matt
Blanchfield, James Mathieson, Sam Coleman, left front, and Kenny Hawes — have all qualified for the
national powerlifting championships, in Auckland next month.
Coast lifters in top form at SI champs
Parker keen to pay tribute to Collins
STATE OF ORIGIN
Blues drop Fifita, Tupou
in six minutes in
PICTURE: Getty Images
Cowboys’ John Asiata, left, and Lachlan Coote congratulate Gavin Cooper after he
scored his hat-trick last night against the Eels at Pirtek Stadium, in Sydney.
Mbye shines in Bulldogs victory
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