With Canterbury's tails up after their first-round win in netball's ANZ Championship on Monday, the Tactix hit Perth this weekend to present West Coast Fever with another tough challenge from a New Zealand team.
The Fever went down to Southern Steel by just two goals in Invercargill the same night as the Tactix were whipping fellow Kiwis Central Pulse further up the South Island in Christchurch.
'Whipping' doesn't sound right since the Tactix won by only six goals, but at one point they were up by 15 and Canterbury coach Helen Mahon-Stroud chose to play some of her bench players in the final quarter.
There will be no such concessions to Fever, whose build-up to the season has been good with a classy team but who cannot afford to lose in round two at Challenge Stadium on Monday night.
They play 2009 premiers Melbourne Vixens the following week and then leading New Zealand team Waikato Bay of Plenty away in round four, so the prospect of being 0-4 my mid April hangs over them.
Tactix are equally keen because their 2009 season was mediocre - five wins and eight losses - and after the Perth game they have two home matches. So they are looking at a 4-0 start to the season.
The teams finished equal on points last season but Tactix (sixth) had a superior percentage over Fever (seventh) though the points difference might well change should Fever goal shooter Caitlin Bassett continue her rise in the sport.
Bassett hit 34 of her 35 shots in Invercargill and her miss in the third quarter was a tiddler. Should the lively Fever midcourt get the ball more frequently to her and she keeps up such a wonderful percentage, Fever will shoot lots of winning scores.
Recruit goal attack Leah Shoard (10 from 15), playing against her old team, had a below-par shooting percentage but she nailed some excellent shots and should improve now that first game is out of the way.
Tactix won the corresponding game last year by eight goals, 52-44.
Round two matches: Saturday - Central Pulse v Northern Mystics (Porirua), Adelaide Thunderbirds v NSW Swifts (Adelaide). Sunday - Melbourne Vixens v Queensland Firebirds (Melbourne). Monday - Fever v Tactix (Perth), Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic v Southern Steel (Rotorua).Don't miss the ANZ Championship round two wrap-up on thewest.com on Tuesday
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