Unfancied Central Pulse made transtasman netball champions NSW Swifts battle for a win in a pre-season tournament in Queenstown last night.
Leading 30-25 at halftime, the Pulse were inspired by captain Paula Griffin, who goaled 34 of 39 attempts and used her height to make an impact at wing attack in the third quarter.
With the score locked 41-41 heading into the final stage, the Swifts, playing without first choice shooters Catherine Cox and Susan Pratley, nailed seven in a row to seal the win despite a last-minute surge from the Pulse.
The Swifts returned to the court last night in full force to beat off another challenge from the Southern Steel, winning 56-49 after a late surge.
With Steel's ranks depleted by injuries, young shooters Julianna Naoupu and Leah Shoard responded strongly, keeping seasoned Swifts defenders Rebecca Bulley and Samantha May on their toes.
Shoard was dynamic on attack, and was ably supported by centre Wendy Telfer and wing attack Adine Wilson through the midcourt.
Steel's defensive trio of Megan Hutton, Katrina Grant and Erika Burgess forced rare mistakes from the highly-rated Swifts attack, with Australian internationals Cox and Pratley under constant pressure.
The Steel led 29-28 at halftime but cracked under pressure applied by the Swifts in the second half.
In other games yesterday, Northern Mystics continued their unbeaten run to beat an Australian Institute of Sport team 63-51 before dealing to the Pulse 70-60.
The AIS held the Steel 28-28 at halftime before succumbing to the hosts 53-50 in another match.