Commentator’s Call: Make or break on Super Sunday
The Pulse and Steel are through to the 2018 ANZ Premiership Finals Series, with which way around they finish remaining to be seen.
The Pulse are certainly in the box seat to secure top spot, requiring only one more win to make their position unassailable. That would see them with home court advantage for the Grand Final.
The Mystics win over the Magic on Wednesday night has seen them bound from sixth on the ladder to fourth. If they win their remaining games, they could make that last Finals position. But so could the Tactix or Magic. This is how gripping the end of this competition has become.
The Tactix are two points ahead of Mystics, but have one less game to play. The stumbling block for the northerners is that their final game is against the Pulse, so a win or at least a bonus point is essential to deny the Tactix their first appearance in Finals netball in either the ANZ Premiership or ANZ Championship.
Much of the drama will play out this weekend in Round 12 which begins in Takanini with a Super Sunday. The opening game pits Tactix against Pulse, followed by the Stars versus Mystics, and Steel against Magic.
The Pulse have had to battle to get past the Tactix in their two previous encounters. These sides feature the two best defensive combinations in the competition. Grant and Fitzpatrick against Watson and Fakahokotau. The difference has been Pulse have had the superior shooting performances. The Tactix will know that a win over the competition leaders will go a long way to securing them a place in the finals.
The third game between the Stars and Mystics will decide the winner of the inaugural Barfoot & Thompson Northern Challenge trophy. The series is split and both games have been close. The Mystics have the greater incentive, but Stars have shown an unwillingness to bow down.
The final game of the day sees the gallant Magic try to pick off their first win of the year against the Steel. Three wins in their last three games would see them in the finals, but those three games are against sides above them on the ladder. Nothing is impossible, but the Magic’s season has not been without setbacks.
All these games count for a lot, as does Monday night’s clash between the Stars and Pulse, not to mention the Mystics v Magic rematch on Wednesday night.