Timely test for The Good Oil Tactix

14 March 2020

There is no better test than taking on the ANZ Premiership defending champions to gauge your progress, says The Good Oil Tactix coach Marianne Delaney-Hoshek.

Her side opens this year’s league against the Pulse at Stadium 2000 in Blenheim on Sunday.

And with a growing optimism of the Tactix’ prospects in 2020, the battle in Blenheim – the first time the city has hosted an ANZ Premiership match – promises plenty.

“What better way to gauge where you’re at than by taking on the defending champions,” Delaney-Hoshek said.  “We’ve got a huge respect for them but we’re also confident in what we’ve done to prepare for this game.”

The Tactix head coach said she was pleased with what she’d seen from her squad during the pre-season and not just from what the players have been producing in game-play.

“I have seen a lot of growth on court and even the improvements that we’ve seen from Super Club late last year has impressed,” she said.

“But it’s about more than that.  It’s the way we’ve come together as a group, the way we function and get on as people.  And it’s also the leadership that I’ve seen from the girls that has stood out.

“There’s such a good feeling.”

The Tactix had hoped last year to repeat their maiden Final Series appearance of 2018 but a testing injury toll at key times hurt their chances.

Defender Temalisi Fakahokotau was missing from the 2019 line-up due to her recovery from a ruptured ACL injury, but the early casualty of midcourter Erikana Pedersen was an unexpected challenge for the side.

Delaney-Hoshek said there had been lessons learnt.

“Ensuring we’ve had that cover in positions has been really important and certainly something that we’ve taken on board after losing Erikana (Pedersen) and Tem (Fakahokotau),” she said.

“I think the good thing we saw was that there were others who stood up in a leadership way like Charlotte (Elley) and Kimiora (Poi) in the midcourt when we lost Erikana.”

Starting the league strongly was also highlighted if they were to make an impact in a year where little would separate the six ANZ Premiership teams.

“It’s definitely looking to be one of the closest Premiership’s we’ve had so far and while we finished really strongly last year, we know that getting it right in the first half of the season can be critical to making that Finals Series.

“There’s been a nervous energy amongst the team this week ahead of our first game, which is a good sign because we’re just ready to get out there now and give it all we’ve got.”

The Good Oil Tactix open their 2020 ANZ Premiership against the Pulse at Stadium 2000 in Blenheim on Sunday, March 15, televised live on Sky Sport 3 from 4pm.

 

Photo:  Michael Bradley