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Round one results from The ANZ Netball Championships
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Given little chance of overthrowing the mighty Magic, a renewed Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel side gave their Invercargill fans an unforgettable opening to their ANZ Championship campaign, upsetting the First Windows Waikato Bay of Plenty visitors 49-47 tonight.
Hardest hit by player - and coach - changes in the off-season, with just three returning from last years squad, the Steel showed no signs of intimidation up against the perennial ANZ Championship top-four side; the mixture of Silver Fern veterans and fresh young talent gelling immediately.
Steel shooters Donna Wilkins and Jodi Brown, playing together for the first time in their long careers, forged a formidable combination in the face of an experienced Magic defence.
A disappointed Magic still put together phases of their traditional stellar play, but at times struggled to keep pace with the energised home side.
Magic newcomer Jess Waitapu stepped up to the challenge of her first appearance at goal attack, with regular Juliana Naoupu sidelined with a haematoma. Shooting with the confidence of a more experienced player, Waitapu and goal shoot Irene van Dyk did not miss a shot in the first quarter - in fact van Dyk notched up her 2000th goal in ANZ Championship history in the opening minutes (and ultimately gave a 100 percent match performance) despite intense pressure from Steel goal keep Demelza McCloud.