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Netball: Sharks victorious in NSL opener

With six national players in their squad, the Tiger Sharks are one of the contenders to win this year's M1 Netball Super League title.

And they showed how tough it will be to beat them at yesterday's league-opening match, never relinquishing an early lead in defeating three-time champions Magic Marlins 54-48 at the Toa Payoh Sports Hall.

By the end of the first quarter, the Sharks were up 19-11, and they capitalised on their opponents' hesitance to open up a 34-23 advantage after the first half.

The Marlins ramped up their play in the second half, making shorter and quicker passes to narrow the gap to four points in the final quarter.

But while they outscored the Sharks 12-9 and 13-11 in the third and fourth quarters respectively, the Sharks were composed enough not to be caught up.

Sharks coach Saadiah Khamis attributed the win to their good start and strong defence, but said her charges have to improve on their consistency.

"We started well but didn't end so well, and that's what we need to work on - consistency and accuracy," she said.

Sharks captain Vanessa Lee, who led the defence through all quarters, agreed.

"When Marlins stepped up their game, we just let them do it and kept at our own speed," she said.

"Sometimes when teams come strongly at us like that, we need to step it up too."

The Sharks had 82 per cent shooting accuracy, while the Marlins had 76 per cent.

Marlins coach Jean Ng rued her side's "silly errors", but said: "I thought the team gelled well in certain patches and they have very good speed. Now it's just about improving on timing and efficiency."

While the outcome was different for the two sides, both reached the same conclusion - that subsequent training sessions will be spent fine-tuning their game play.

Marlins vice-captain and goal shooter Yu Mei Ling said: "There are many more games to go, so we'll just have to work hard on making shorter, sharper passes, and show we are better than this."

Lee added: "Maintaining consistency can only come with more training, so we'll be looking at settling into our style of play. Hopefully after that, we'll be heading to the semi-finals or final."

In yesterday's other matches, SRC Barracudas beat the M1 Sunfish 38-35, while the Mission Mannas defeated the Fier Orcas 60-37.