2021 ANZ Premiership Elimination Final Preview
The Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel host The Good Oil Tactix in Sunday’s Elimination Final, with the winner earning the chance to meet Northern Mystics in the Grand Final.
Sunday, 1 August
Steel v Tactix at 4.20pm
ILT Stadium Southland in Invercargill
Home court advantage could play a major factor in this sudden death match with the Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel perhaps taking the favourite tag as they play in front of their parochial fans at the fortress that is ILT Stadium Southland in Invercargill.
But they come up against The Good Oil Tactix which is the only team to have cracked the fortress code this season, beating the Steel back in Round 6 by 10 goals.
The Steel still hold the edge with wins over their southern neighbours this year having defeated the Tactix twice and captain Shannon Saunders said she was expecting an exciting battle between the two teams in the high stakes match. She hopes her team can get a lead against the Tactix and build on it.
“I think when we get a lead we just need to be able to push on. It’s something we haven’t been able to do really well this season,” she said.
One Tactix player who knows the stadium well is goal attack Te Paea Selby-Rickit who played nine seasons in the Steel strip. She said the crowd was often the “player” that got the Steel over the line. But she said the Tactix had taken plenty of confidence from the 60-50 victory they had in Invercargill in May.
“We led from start to finish and took a lot of confidence from that win. I think it was a turning point of our season.”
There will be plenty of big match-ups across the court as players also have Silver Ferns selection in the back of their minds.
Steel midcourter Kate Heffernan celebrates her 50th ANZ Premiership match on Sunday and has been touted as a Ferns contender – her clash with Tactix centre Kimiora Poi one to keep an eye on.
There will also be much interest in the match-up between Steel goal attack Tiana Metuarau and Tactix defender Karin Burger – the young Steel shooter also knocking on the door for higher honours.