Southern Steel made an astonishing comeback against Central Pulse to win their second consecutive ANZ Premiership title.
It was Pulse who established an early advantage, racing to a six goal lead after the first quarter. Aliyah Dunn and Ameliaranne Ekenasio, got Pulse off to a flyer, with both players converting eight times in the opening fifteen minutes.
Steel settled into to the game in the second quarter, thanks to good work on the wing from Gina Crampton, who set up seven goals. Both sides tied the second quarter, meaning that Pulse still had their six goal lead in tact at the main interval.
Pulse had topped the league in the regular season which gave them the privilege to host the grand final in their home arena, in which tickets sold out rapidly. Pulse had secured two victories more than Steel during the regular season and Steel qualified for the final by defeating Mainland Tactix in the Eliminator Final last week.
In the second half, Steel shooter Jen O’Connell converted 12/12 to help reduce Pulse’s lead to four as the scores read 42-38 going into the final quarter.
It was a tense final quarter, in which Steel completed the comeback late on to win 54-53 which makes them back-to-back ANZ Premiership champions. It was a fairy tale end for Steel captain Wendy Frew who was playing her final game for the club.
After the final, Central Pulse captain Katrina Grant was named 2018 ANZ Premiership Player of the Year.
Highlights of the final can be found here.
Header image credit – ANZ Premiership