AUCKLAND - The Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic have opened the new trans-Tasman netball league season in style with a dominant 70-46 win over the Mainland Tactix in Christchurch.
The Magic are under a new coach in Australian Julie Fitzgerald and have a new-look squad missing the likes of experienced Silver Ferns pair Irene van Dyk and Laura Langman, who were among their off-season departures.
But they showed they don't intend giving up their status as New Zealand's most successful franchise in a hurry.
The Magic were slick through court and showed patience, width and depth on attack.
England shooter Jo Harten was lethal against her former team, missing just one late shot of the 42 she put up, and she was well supported by Ellen Halpenny with 29 from 32.
In defence, the New Zealand Test combination of skipper Casey Kopua and Leana de Bruin kept a tight rein on the Tactix shooters.
However, Malawi shooter Mwai Kumwenda did impress in her ANZ Championship debut with 29 goals from 30 attempts for the home side.
The Magic were up by 37-23 at half-time on the way to winning every quarter.
They kept their foot down in the second spell, when Fitzgerald decided to put on two 18-year-olds in centre Samantha Sinclair and wing defence Jamie-Lee Price.
Kopua said maintaining the momentum was something the Magic had been focusing on in their build-up.
"We've worked hard on the urgency and the hunger and I think the girls showed that right to end," she said.
She admitted that she hadn't expected such a good start to the new campaign given the changes to the Magic.
Tactix skipper Anna Thompson said her side didn't get enough ball, while the Magic were able to move their possession too easily through court and into their shooting circle.
"We wanted to come out and start this competition with a bang this year and unfortunately we haven't done that."