22 July 2012, Harriet Millard
The First Windows Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic took down the Melboune Vixens by just three goals this afternoon to achieve the first ever moment that a New Zealand side would lift the ANZ trophy.
Laura Langman's side flattened the hosts in the final 15 minutes of the game, with crucial intercepts from Player of the Match Leanna De Bruin, and a 96% overall shooting rate from Netball idol Irene Van Dyk adding to the team cohesiveness and belief to win.
It was the Magic's third appearance in an ANZ Championship Grand Final, with all three biennial performances taking place across the ditch on Australian soil, and this time in front of a raucaous crowd of nearly 10,000, most of whom were cheering for Melbourne.
In 2008 (the inaugural year) they lost to the New South Wales Swifts 65 – 56, and in 2010 the Adelaide Thunderbirds beat them 52 goals to 42.
This time however, the New Zealanders, (with Australian import Khao Watts at WA) fought off the Vixens by 41 goals to 38, in an exhillerating match which saw the scores level with just under two minutes remaining on the clock.
The Vixens looked strong from the start, especially in defence as Julie Corletto shut down Khao Watts, and Geva Mentor made life difficult for Van Dyk under the post. Captain Bianca Chatfield established a steady presence at GD and the mid courters also looked in control.
The end of the first quarter saw the scoreboard in the Vixens favour by one goal, but only eight goals to seven, in what was to be a relatively low scoring match.
Both teams returned to the court without making any changes to the lineups, and the hosts extended their lead, winning the first half of the game 22 goals to 18.
The third quarter saw the momentum remain with the hosts, however some under par shooting from Tegan Caldwell and Karyn Howarth, and the constant charge in Magic defense meant the visitors looked more confident in the second half of the game.
Going into the final 15 minutes of the 2012 season three goals behind the Vixens (31 - 28) the Magic dug deep and found a flow to their game.
A cool Irene Van Dyk delivered exactly as her bib instructed her to, and the Magic levelled the scores at 13 minutes into the quarter. They immediately turned over more ball and took the lead, and galliantly held on to the three goal margin until the final whistle blew.