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Merryn Anderson

Tactician to Magician - Elley's major move

Charlotte Elley has taken a big step in her netball career, moving north to the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic after 96 games with the Tactix. Photo: Merryn Anderson

A stalwart of netball in the south, Charlotte Elley has made the shift north to the Magic for this year's ANZ Premiership. And, she tells Merryn Anderson, she's keen to prove she's not a one-trick pony. 

After a decade in the Tactix environment, Charlotte Elley decided it was finally time for something different.

The wing defence first made the wider Tactix squad as a Year 12 student in 2013, and spent seven seasons as a fully contracted player in the red and black. In the 2022 ANZ Premiership season, she was easily the longest-serving member of the Tactix.

“Change is always good; people say it’s as good as a holiday," says Elley. "And it really has been, it’s been so refreshing moving."  On Sunday, she debuted for her new side, the Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic, in a one-goal thriller.

The 26-year-old is now based in Tauranga, able to keep her job with sheep and beef exporter ANZCO and work remotely. 

The bustle of Christchurch has been replaced by beach walks with her flatmate’s dog before heading round the corner to training. 

“I think my game’s been so refreshed coming into a new place, having a new voice, a new coach and playing with different players,” Elley says. 

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An in-circle defender at high school on the West Coast, Elley transitioned to wing defence, where she spent most of her time at the Tactix. 

With the Magic losing stalwart Sam Winders to the Southern Steel, a gap opened in the centre/wing defence position. 

Charlotte Elley and the Tactix made the 2021 ANZP grand final, but had a challenging '22 season. Photo: Getty Images

Elley played the full 60 minutes at wing defence for the Magic’s first game on Sunday - a gritty 53-52 loss to reigning champs, the Central Pulse. 

It was Elley's 97th domestic league match, having played seven in the ANZ Championship and then 89 in the ANZ Premiership - all for the Mainland Tactix. All going well, Elley will notch up her 100th match against the Steel in round four on March 25 in Invercargill. 

In their opening game in Palmerston North, the Pulse stretched out to a nine-goal lead in the third quarter, but the Magic pulled it back with a seven-goal run and had plenty of chances to win in the final stanza. 

After a difficult 2022 season, the Magic have already proven themselves capable of challenging the top teams, with good connections between players in all thirds of the court. 

The MVP award went to 19-year-old, 1.92m Pulse shooter Amelia Walmsley, who shot 36 from 39. The Magic defence struggled to stop the feeds into her, but did manage to slow the ball through the middle. 

With two gains and five deflections, Elley also kept a very low penalty count at wing defence, but is looking forward to potentially spending time at centre for the Magic as well. 

“It’s really exciting for my game that I can expand and not just be a one trick pony," she says. 

The Tactix finished bottom of the table last year, missing the leadership of Silver Fern Jane Watson on court. 

“She’s such a loud, positive voice at the back, so we definitely missed her,” Elley says. “But we had a good team and we were gutted with our results, a bit of a shame.” 

The Magic finished just one spot above the Tactix last year, thanks to bonus points. 

Charlotte Elley (left) says the Magic are already feeling like a family off court as well as on. Photo: Merryn Anderson

Elley's new team don’t play the Tactix until round four, but Elley jokes that their pre-season match was an interesting experience. 

“It’s weird when you go out onto court and give them a cuddle and then it’s game on. It’s random but it’s kind of fun,” she says. 

Pre-season with the Magic was tough for Elley, surprised at how hard Magic coach Mary-Jane Araroa pushed the team. 

“Those trainings before Christmas were pretty intense, I’d honestly never trained as hard in my life,” Elley says. 

“Four hours of training in one day is a lot but your body definitely gets conditioned to it. It’ll be good for us building into those double headers, knowing that our bodies can handle that.” 

The Magic put through their paces in the final training session of 2022.

Elley slots into the Magic midcourt with Simmon Wilbore, Georgie Edgecombe and Claire Kersten, all of whom are capable of covering multiple midcourt positions. 

All four played against the Pulse on Sunday - Kersten spending a full match at centre and Wilbore and Edgecombe sharing the wing attack bib, while Georgia Takarangi (née Tong) and Erena Mikaere covered the in-circle defence. 

“We are definitely clicking," Elley says. "It’s been awesome to have that time together, getting those connections. Getting to know the girls off the court also helps lots to gain those connections on the court. 

“Just to trust that you can help each other and you know if they’ve got your back off the court, they’re gonna have your back on the court.” 


The opening match of the ANZ Premiership was one to forget for the Southern Steel, posting their lowest ever score in losing to the Mystics, 64-38. 

The Steel struggled in their attacking area, missing English shooter George Fisher, who’s been ruled out for the season after injuring her ACL in a pre-season match. The southerners were also missing shooter Saviour Tui and captain Te Huinga Reo Selby-Rickit. 

Grace Nweke was a standout as usual for the Mystics, shooting at 96 percent accuracy and even spending some time at goal attack. New coach Tia Winikerei managed to get all of her players out on the court for the comprehensive win. 

Tonight the Tactix take on the Stars - keep an eye out for the return of the Jane Watson/Karin Burger partnership to challenge the Stars’ sturdy shooting circle. 

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