Despite a disappointing start to the season, the Northern Mystics are not ready to give up Auckland netball bragging rights.
The Mystics claimed a 60-54 victory over the Northern Stars in the second round of the ANZ Premiership - a win aided by a rare sending off in the fourth quarter.
Stars defender Fa'amu Ioane was controversially sent off for "persistent infringing" with the Mystics up by two goals, leaving the Stars with only six players to finish the game.
As expected, the Mystics extended their advantage, to snare their first win of the season.
Stars coach Kiri Wills said she didn't agree with the call to send Ioane off the court, believing her defender was "genuinely going for the ball".
"It's interesting and I'll definitely be talking to the umpires about it, Fa'amu was genuinely going for the ball and looking for an intercept, it wasn't deliberate ... I felt it was a pretty harsh call," said Wills.
"It was a tightly contested contest and obviously losing Fa'amu seven minutes into the last quarter didn't help our chances so the girls are really, really disappointed, but I'm impressed they held on."
Mystics coach Helene Wilson, however, thought the call was fair and applauded her side for how they closed the game.
"She got cautioned, she got warned, and then she got sent off and that's in the rules," said Wilson.
"To me if you go off-side on purpose to disrupt the attacking play and you've been warned you've got to stay on side."
The Mystics came into the clash off two losses last week, going down 55-47 to the Steel on Super Sunday and suffering a 42-39 loss to the Tactix on Wednesday.
But taking to the court with fresh confidence, the Mystics fell into an unstoppable rhythm that surprised their longtime northern rivals.
Stars import Ama Agbeze, however, ensured it wasn't an easy outing for Silver Ferns shooter Bailey Mes as the feisty English defender turned the Mystics' shooting circle into a battleground.
Following a rather rough start to the season, Mes again struggled under the hoop, shooting at 71 per cent as the Mystics took a four-goal lead at halftime.
Maria Folau's uncharacteristically hesitant performance in the third quarter prevented the Mystics from gaining a more comfortable lead, while Stars shooter Maia Wilson shot at 92 per cent.
However, the tightly-knit defensive unit between Mystics captain Anna Harrison and Michaela Sokolich-Beatson ensured that Wilson had limited opportunities to score.
Despite a stern fight from the short-handed Stars in the final quarter, it wasn't enough to claw back lost ground as the Mystics finished the game in style.
Today's win will give the Mystics the early advantage in the Northern Challenge Trophy and keep Wilson's squad from falling into last place on the ANZ Premiership ladder.
The Northern Challenge Trophy will be awarded to the team that wins the battle of the three matches between the sides throughout the season.
The Central Pulse will take on the Mainland Tactix tomorrow night in a battle of the undefeated sides at Wellington's TSB Bank Arena.
The Pulse currently lead the competition after beating the Southern Steel in round one, while the Tactix are in second, both holding 2-0 records.