Grand Final Sunday 23 August at 6.45pm
The Good Oil Tactix are preparing for their first Grand Final appearance in the ANZ Premiership. We take a look at their remarkable run to Sunday’s Grand Final against the Pulse.
Head coach Marianne Delaney-Hoshek made an early promise that there was enough in The Good Oil Tactix’ tool-box to take them far in this year’s ANZ Premiership.
It was just moments after a disappointing first round 12-goal loss to the defending champion Pulse side when the coach urged for patience in what she regarded as a marathon and not a sprint.
That was back in March, just days before the country was plunged into lockdown and the league went into limbo.
Since then, the Tactix have crafted a season of firsts.
It is the first time they have won six games on the trot (nine in total during the regular season) and they will have their first crack at a Grand Final.
They also recorded the biggest ever crowd for an ANZ Premiership match when over 5,000 fans turned out for their only game of the revamped season.
The Tactix have beaten every team leading into the Grand Final and shown they can back it up with some demanding double-headers – all on the road.
The unplanned break after Round 9 however – when Auckland went back into lockdown and the rest of the country to Alert Level 2 – came at a good time for the side as they rested some weary bodies.
Now they must ensure they don’t fall out of the winning groove they have mastered over the last few rounds.
Delaney-Hoshek will turn to her players who have experienced big-game pressures with captain Jane Watson and Te Paea Selby-Rickit two who know what it takes to win when it matters.
Watson has found her feet in the goal defence bib over the second half of the season as she and Temalisi Fakahokotau pose a major threat to a composed Pulse attack.
Wing Charlotte Elley and centre Kimiora Poi have driven the hustle on defence outside of the circle while up front the form from Erikana Pedersen has many talking the wing attack up for a call-up to higher honours.
The shooting circle is perhaps where many see the biggest improvements from the Tactix with Selby-Rickit proving a critical injection to the frontline, growing in her leadership and her combination with Ellie Bird getting better with each outing.
Bird’s game has impressed as the season progressed with her assured hands, an accurate radar in the shooting circle and a rising confidence in her court work.
Delaney-Hoshek, who has just signed on for three more years in the hot seat, is now looking forward to seeing who steps up for the Grand Final.
They have treated their last few games as must-win ‘finals’ and the coached has been pleased with how every player has performed.
She knows they can delve into their tool-box with certainty, able to find the right instruments to push them across the finish line in prime position.
It will be a marathon well run.
2020 Tactix results
Round 1: lost to Pulse 41-53
Round 2: beat Steel 43-36, lost to Stars 43-49
Round 3: beat Magic 45-36
Round 4: lost to Mystics 42-47
Round 5: beat Mystics 41-40, drew with Magic 46-46
Round 6: lost to Pulse 32-33, beat Steel 48-35
Round 7: beat Stars 47-40
Round 8: beat Stars 52-42, beat Magic 44-35
Round 9: beat Mystics 43-42, beat Pulse 39-32