Despite falling short in their two ANZ Championship netball pre-season matches at the weekend, Kia Magic coach Julie Fitzgerald was happy enough with the team’s progress.

With nine newcomers this year and captain Casey Kopua still recovering from off-season surgery and unable to play yet, Magic were beaten 89-79 and 90-72 by Central Pulse in New Plymouth over the weekend.

``Although results didn’t go our way, I was happy with what we learnt and a lot of what we produced,’’ Fitzgerald said.

``I was happy to get all players on court in both games (except Casey) and be able to try various combinations.’’
With some players only joining the team on Friday evening, Fitzgerald was pleased to finally have her full roster together and confident that things can only keep improving from here.

With highly regarded England shooter Jo Harten arriving late last week and pairing with her former Tactix team-mate Ellen Halpenny, Fitzgerald was pleased with the promising signs coming from the shooting end while considerable improvement was evident in the team’s through court play.

``The games provided a clear indication of what we need to work on, particularly over the next few sessions before we leave for the Melbourne pre-season on February 15-16,’’ Fitzgerald said.

``Our young players showed some real talent against much more experienced players in their first hit-out at this level.’’
In the opening game Halpenny returned an impressive 96 percent success rate under the hoop, Harten 79 percent, exciting talent Malia Paseka 81 percent and rookie shooter Brooke Leaver 65 percent.

These percentages were not as strong in the second match, inconsistency and a high error count also proving costly.

``I thought we had some very good passages of play, particularly on Saturday, and there were some very positive signs of what we can achieve,’’ Fitzgerald said.

Jane Hunt
Kia Magic media liaison
Ph: 021-107-0287

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