Silvermoon Tactix future looks bright

09 August 2018

The mentality shift in the Mainland Tactix was perfectly illustrated moments after their best season in club history came to a halt.

While the Tactix would have once been elated just to play finals netball, coach Marianne Delaney-Hoshek said there was a hollow feeling in the changing room afterwards.

The pain of Wednesday's 53-49 national netball premiership elimination final loss to the Southern Steel in Invercargill stung.

Players would remember that disappointment and use it as motivation to go even further in 2019.

"The funny thing was we all felt really gutted in a way because we had it there for the taking. I think it will be really good for us in a way," Delaney-Hoshek said.

"It will really spur us on. To have that home court advantage [next year] in that kind of game would be fantastic. It will give us something to think about and really drive that training for next year."

Once the anguish of knockout netball defeat subsides, the Tactix will reflect on a campaign, where they broke new ground and gained respectability.

Finishing third after round play and making the finals for the first time in their 11-year history is some turn around for a club previously renowned for mediocrity.

Last year, the Tactix finished bottom in the inaugural national premiership, winning two games. In the final five seasons of the former trans-Tasman competition, they won just eight of 65 games and propped up the bottom of the ladder.

Delaney-Hoshek, who took over from Sue Hawkins midway through last year, and assistant coach Julie Seymour, have been integral to their results reversal.

They are both contracted for next season and the Netball Mainland board will surely be doing all they can to lock them down long-term.

The team's long-suffering fans, who remained loyal through the regular thumpings in the trans-Tasman league, have finally been rewarded for their commitment.

For so long the butt of jokes in New Zealand netball, a positive vibe is now associated with the club.

"It's amazing. Even just around town, the girls in their uniforms say people come up and say the team is doing really well. The support we've had from people in our zone has been incredible.

"It's been an absolute honour to be a part of it."

The Tactix performed admirably, considering captain Jess Maclennan (two games played) and fellow defender and vice-captain Zoe Walker (one game) both barely featured due to season-ending injuries, weakening their depth.

Five of the Tactix eight round losses came by five goals or less. Four of those were decided by just three goals or fewer. Turning those narrow defeats into victories and winning the crunch moments of the fourth quarter would be a key focus moving into next season.

"I think we've just about got it right. Jules (Seymour) and I were talking earlier, we're getting the wins now, but there were some one goal games. It's just learning to put our foot down.

"It's a really good start with this group and we can only get better from here."

Delaney-Hoshek wasn't in a position to comment around player contracting for 2019, but was "hopeful" the bulk of the squad would return.

Given the environment they had created and the team's success, she was confident the group would remain together to build on what they had started.

Teams can approach opposition players after Sunday's grand final between the Central Pulse and Steel. 

Retaining Silver Ferns defensive standout Temalisi Fakahokotau and outstanding young midcourt talent Kimiora Poi will be pivotal.

The season isn't completely over. They will compete in the Super Club tournament in Nelson from August 19-24, courtesy of finishing in the top three.

Delaney-Hoshek indicated they would give opportunities to some of their fringe squad members. Players who had endured a heavy workload this season would likely be used in a reduced capacity.

The original article was published on Stuff -