No more foxing, ghosting or joshing because the lines have been drawn in the sand to decide who should be progressing to the final of the elite Hawke's Bay netball competition on Friday night.

Otane Thirsty Whale, who beat All In Tremains Elusive 63-41 in the final round of Karamu Holden Super 8 last Friday, will face fourth qualifiers Hastings High School Old Girls' Huia at the Pettigrew-Green Arena in the second semifinal from 7.45pm.

Defending champions Napier Girls' High School Senior A, as second qualifiers after trouncing Outkast Optimise Physio 60-20, will take on third qualifiers All In in the first semifinal on the same PG Arena court two in the earlier time of 6.15pm.

Huia predictably had promoted Toki Mana's measure at 51-32 while Central Sport Vet Services didn't have it all their way in eventually grinding down Havelock North House of Travel Kauri 45-40 last Friday.

Advertisement

However, how much can fans read into the genuine intent of the final round of matches, considering all top four teams were assured of playoff berths, albeit with some uncertainty surrounding who would face who.

Needless to say, the time to call each other's bluff is over. Don't pack the right attitude in the gear bags and fail to slap the bibs with meaningful intent and teams will have to start pondering on next winter.

Frankly any positional playoffs thereafter won't offer the same sense of satisfaction although there can be an argument for dragging Big Mo to one's corner.

Otane player/coach Tammy Kupa reiterated the shield component of the competition was their teething phase to cement combinations so, akin to All Blacks coach Steve Hansen, the perennial powerhouses are now ready for the business end.

"We were kind of unsure on whether it was going to be All In or Huia but Napier [Girls' High] had a convincing win against Outkast ... so it's going to be kind of a hard semi for us because we know Huia are strong," said Kupa of the Rebecca Martin-coached outfit who also had pipped All In 48-46 in the penultimate round.

For Otane it's a case of taking a fresh blueprint against Huia who have chipped away to do enough to make the cull without too much pomp and ceremony in the understated way Martin likes to adopt.

"Huia are a never give up kind of team who'll just keep on coming and coming and coming," said Kupa, emphasising smart netball was on Otane 's agenda.

What had worked against All In for them was patience. Otane won the first quarter 18-9, second 18-8 but slipped 11-13 in the third before coming back 16-11 in the final one.

Advertisement

"We didn't let All In faze us or upset us because we had gone into the game knowing we needed to be patient from attack and, I think, that's what we've got to do with Huia as well this week."

Kupa didn't think All In didn't try hard enough to take on the schoolgirls who have yet to beat the Candis Timms-captained side this winter.

She ruled out any "engineering", as such, on the grounds that when Otane and All In face off neither side want to succumb. Besides, it's not the ideal taste in the mouth for the impending playoffs.

"We had an outstanding start that got us into a comfortable position and All In, actually, pulled back."

Kupa emphasised NGHS were up by seven goals and it wasn't until the last-quarter jitters that the schoolgirls had lost the plot against shield champions All In to lose by two.

"No matter who were going to come up against it was always going to be a hard semi."

When Otane lost by two goals to All In, she said her side were lacking three pivotal players in the very first encounter although Timms' troops had played a few more games than the top two teams leading into the shield round.

Otane have a few players carrying niggly injuries but Kupa has implored them to lift themselves for two more games this winter.

NGHS skipper Janayah Lewis said coach Annemarie Kupa and the team were delighted with how they had warmed to the task after a sluggish start this season.

"I don't think it could have got much better than that for us," said Lewis who shot at 90 per cent (36 from 40 attempts) to spearhead NGHS to a 10-6, 14-4, 18-3 and 18-7 quarterly returns against Outkast.

The goal attack said while NGHS hadn't beaten All In it would come down to the better team prevailing this Friday.

Asked if it was imperative to for her goal shoot bib starter, Caitlin Smith, to lift her input (57 per cent) Lewis said variety was important for them with Samantha Taylor (85 per cent) and mid-courter Parris Petera (75) sharing the workload.

She felt "sticking to our processes" would be the key to eclipsing All In.

Toki Mana goal attack Mele Letuele beats Huia goal defence Jade Waldin to the ball. Photo / Paul Taylor
Toki Mana goal attack Mele Letuele beats Huia goal defence Jade Waldin to the ball. Photo / Paul Taylor

RD 7 DETAILS

Results

Otane bt All In 63-41, Huia bt Toki Mana 51-32, NGHS bt Outkast 60-20, Central bt Kauri 45-40.

Play-offs

At the PG Arena, Taradale, on Friday:

SF2, 6.15pm: No 2 NGHS v No 3 All In, PG2.
SF1, 7.45pm: No 1 Otane v No 4 Huia, PG1.
6.15pm: No 5 Outkast v No 6 Central, PG1.
7.45pm: No 7 Kauri v No 8 Toki Mana, PG1.

It's a smile of satisfaction from the Otane bench against All In at the PG Arena, Taradale, last Friday night. Photo / Paul Taylor
It's a smile of satisfaction from the Otane bench against All In at the PG Arena, Taradale, last Friday night. Photo / Paul Taylor