The stage is set for the ANZ Grand Final, with Pulse and Stars claiming their spaces in the contest.
It was a busy week with Round 12 coming to an end, and three re-arranged fixtures also taking place before the finals could be decided.
Let’s see how the teams got on in their final regular matches of the season…
Stars 58 – 54 Magic
Stars shot into contention for a Grand Final space when they beat Magic in the first of the re-arranged fixtures in the ANZ’s last week of competition.
The victory meant Stars were level with Mystics and Pulse on points at the top of the table, with one league game to go against Steel.
However, Mystics and Pulse both still had better goal difference, meaning Stars would need a very large win against Steel in order to top the table and take the guaranteed Grand Final spot.
Silver Fern Anna Harrison led the way in trying to better Stars goal difference in this match, as she dominated in the defensive circle making nine gains and two interceptions.
The pressure if now on for Stars to have a strong win against Steel…
Stars 68 – 49 Steel
Taking to court for their second re-arranged fixture of the week it was clear just how much was on the line for Stars in this match.
The home-side put on their most dominant and clinical performance of the season with a nine-goal lead at half-time which they then continued to extend throughout the second half.
Despite their eventual 68-49 victory, Stars did not better their goal difference enough to take the top spot and instead guaranteed themselves the chance of a home premiership Elimination Final.
One of Stars standout international players was Silver Fern Maia Wilson, who controlled the shooting circle for her team scoring 51 of her 55 attempts on goal.
Stars now much wait until Mystics play Pulse to see who they will face in the Elimination Final.
The winner of Mystics vs Pulse will take the top spot in the league, due to having better goal difference than Stars, and head straight into the Grand Final, whilst the loser will take on Stars to battle it out for the last Grand Final spot.
Mystics 40 – 58 Pulse
In the final match of Round 12, Pulse secured a home Grand Final as they beat Mystics 40-58 to finish the season at the top of the table.
However, the season was far from over for Mystics, who finished the league in 3rd booking a place in the Elimination Final against Stars, keeping their chances of a re-match against Pulse in the Grand Final alive – should they beat Stars.
Despite leading at every break, it was midway through the third quarter that Pulse made their mark as they went on a goal scoring flurry scoring eight of the ten goals thanks to Aliyah Dunn and Tiana Metuarau.
Once again Dunn showed just why she is second in the leagues goal scoring charts, with 574 goals to her name this season.
Magic 54 – 43 Steel
There wasn’t as much on the line in the next fixture, with all the finals places already taken up leaving Magic and Steel with nothing left to play for in the 2021/2022 season.
However, it was Magic that managed to finish their season on a positive note as they beat Steel 54-43.
When given the opportunity, England Rose George Fisher, was ever accurate for Steel scoring 24 out of 26 of her chance on goal, but as Steel struggled to get the ball down the court there wasn’t much more the shooters could do.
The result means that Steel finish the league 4th, just above Magic in 5th.
The Elimination Final – Stars 63 – 57 Mystics
A strong first half for Stars secured them the final spot in the Grand Final against Pulse, as they beat Mystics 63-57 in the Elimination Final.
Stars won the first quarter by six, and the second by four leaving them 10 goals up by half-time.
The early lead meant that despite the home-side losing the third quarter by five, a marginal final quarter win was enough to end Mystics season.
Once again, Silver Fern Maia Wilson stood up to the occasion shooting at 95.5% for Stars as she scored 42 of her 44 shots.
Whilst at the other end her teammate Elle Temu controlled the defensive circle making four gains and two interceptions.
It was a bitter sweet day for Mystics, as despite their season coming to an end a week earlier than they would’ve hoped they did welcome Silver Fern shooter Grace Nweke back to court, who had been sidelined following her injury in Round 5.
Nweke continued where she left off on her return, shooting at 91.8%, but it wasn’t enough to see her team over the line and into the Grand Final.
The Grand Final between Pulse and Stars will take place on the 12th June at the TSB Bank Arena, Wellington.
International fans can watch the match live on NetballPass, here.
To view the final league standings, click here.
To remind yourselves of which international players to look out for, click here.
To find out more about the other elite domestic leagues going on around the world, visit our domestic leagues page here.