No looking back for Kia Magic

Press Release March 21, 2013

There will be no looking back for Kia Magic when they open their 2013 ANZ Championship netball campaign against Canterbury Tactix in Nelson, on Sunday.

Last year’s fairytale run to the trans-Tasman title, the first by a New Zealand team, has largely been forgotten as the Waikato/Bay of Plenty side focus their attention on the sixth editon of the competition.

``We haven’t really referred to last year at all, it’s more the media who bring it up, certainly not us,’’ coach Noeline Taurua said.

``Each year is a new year and a new competition. We know we can’t take things for granted, things won’t be the same as last year and we’re are really mindful of that. We know we can’t just rock up and expect things to happen.

``We learnt a lot last year, particularly through our losses in those first four rounds and hopefully we can retain those learnings. Apart from that, this is a whole new year and there’s no looking back.’’

The Kia Magic mentor knows things won’t be plain sailing from day one but is pleased with the team’s preparation during the pre-season and the work that’s gone on in the background.

``We’re ready to go,’’ she said. ``I’m looking forward to just seeing where we’re at and to hopefully get a few glimpses of the things we’ve been working on. The only opportunity you get to test that is in the competitive environment.

``It’s a long competition and I don’t expect to be hitting our straps in game one but I’m excited to be getting on with it and seeing what we’ve got.’’

On the back of the New Zealand squads now being able to carry 14 players, Kia Magic have introduced five new faces this year. They have retained the core of their 2012 winning line-up, including heavyweights Irene van Dyk, Laura Langman, Casey Kopua (nee Williams) and Leana de Bruin.

One significant change is the acquisition of shooter Ellen Halpenny, the former Tactix stalwart likely to come up against her old team-mates in the season-opener. Former Kia Magic goal attack Julianna Naoupu has been ruled out of lining up for her new team while still recovering from a knee injury.

Taurua is pleased with the contrubution from all her newcomers, with none looking out of place and continuing to challenge.

``The most significant thing is that the gap in the team is closing,’’ she said. ``Everybody has worked really hard over the last three months and our fitness levels as a group have risen markedly.

``We know the standard that’s required to perform at this level and anything less won’t be good enough.’’

Tactix have undergone significant changes in personnel in the off-season, boasting seven new players but with England imports Jo Harten and Jade Clarke (formerly Northern Mystics) returning for another season have a good dose of experience in their mix.

Kia Magic have won all 10 previous encounters between the pair and Taurua is looking for another positive result to get their season under way.

``I want to look at the product we deliver on court – physically, mentally, emotionally – that we’re tough, strong and that we can just get out there and play in any environment,’’ she said.

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