The Robinhood Stars will be out to repay the faith shown by their loyal fans when they wrap up their ANZ Premiership campaign by hosting the Splice Construction Magic on Monday night at Pulman Arena.
Few people would have picked the Stars to be playing for little more than pride during the final week of the regular season after starting with five straight victories.
Only a handful of rounds ago the Stars were on the express pathway through to the Finals Series having held onto the top spot on the points ladder since Round 2, but as opponents started to get the better of the Stars’ front line, the wheels started to wobble and finally fell off in a thriller last week where their finals hopes were ended by the Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel.
Now they must rally to finish on a high when they host the Magic. A devastated Stars captain Maia Wilson said it would be a big week preparing for their season-ending match against the Magic.
“It’s a massive blow,” she said of their dashed Finals Series hopes. “For now it’s a bit of pride and mana on the line for us.”
Wilson held her own hand up in trying to dissect where things went wrong for the side, with a decline in shooting percentages a factor.
“We just were not as clinical on attack as the weeks went on,” she said.
The Magic will also be desperate for the victory to send coach Amigene Metcalfe, who is stepping down from the role, out on a winning note.
The defensive end has been a shining light for the Stars all season, with Elle Temu and Anna Harrison creating a formidable duo - latching onto a combined 61 intercepts and 103 deflections.
The contest will be a special one for Stars midcourter Lisa Mather and shooter Monica Falkner who both make their 50th ANZ Premiership appearance against the team they ironically began their respective careers with.
ANZ Premiership Round 15: Robinhood Stars vs Splice Construction Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic - Monday 26th July 7:15pm, Pulman Arena, Auckland