Netball: Steel notch up 90-goals in ANZ Premiership rout of the TactixSave
The gulf in class between the ANZ Premiership's frontrunners and the bottom dwellers was brutally laid bare tonight as the Southern Steel powered to a huge victory over the Tactix.
The form guide suggested the clash at Christchurch's Horncastle Arena would be an epic mismatch, but what transpired out on court was perhaps uglier than anyone predicted.
With the exception of fairly even opening few minutes, the Tactix were never in the contest as the rampant Steel rode roughshod over them, claiming a dominant 90-41 win.
The scoreline blow out could have been larger had Steel coach Reinga Bloxham opted to let her starting line-up run out the match. Instead, Bloxham took the opportunity to get some of her youngsters out on court, with rookie shooter Jamie Hume and defender Abby Erwood introduced after halftime.
The result ensured the Steel, who were quite literally unbackable favourites for the match, remain the only unbeaten side after four rounds of the competition. The Tactix meanwhile are yet to notch up a point, having been soundly beaten in all their matches so far.
The Canterbury side started with promise last night, with strong defence on the opening centre pass leading to an early turnover and an early lead. With the Tactix working hard to slow the ball through the court and prevent any easy looks into Steel sharpshooter Jhaniele Fowler-Reid, it took the visitors a couple of minutes to adjust to the pressure and settle into their rhythm.
It took four minutes before Fowler-Reid had her first attempt at goal - once she got going it was all one-way traffic.
Helping fuel the Jamaican import's goal-scoring spree was a flurry of soft turnovers down the other end of the court as shooters Anna Thompson and Brooke Leaver struggled to find their connection with the midcourt.
By the first break the Steel had charged out to a 22-7 lead. At that point the Steel appeared to be only in competition with themselves as they went about trying to better their first quarter efforts and maintain their attacking structure, rather than succumb to the trap of sinking to their opposition's level.
The clinical approach saw the Steel take convincing 46-17 lead at halftime, creating a strong argument for a mercy rule to be introduced to the competition. But the demolition job was allowed to continue, enabling the Steel to crack 90-goals in the final seconds of the match.
Fowler-Reid notched 70 of the Steel's goals in what is certain to remain a league record for some time.