Auckland netball fans were handed a double dose of disappointment in round five of the ANZ Premiership.
The Northern Stars suffered their fifth straight defeat at the hands of the Southern Steel, 63-61, while the Northern Mystics were steamrolled by the unstoppable Central Pulse, 60-38.
The Steel required a solid comeback to defeat the Stars at Invercargill's Stadium Southland after enduring their biggest ANZ Premiership defeat in their club's history last week with a 31-goal thrashing from the Pulse.
But after losing two matches by a single point and missing the opportunity to claim their first win of the season over the Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic last week, the Stars were just as desperate to take the victory.
The Steel opened the first quarter with a strong start, however, it was the Northern side that ended up taking back the advantage with a one point lead.
Stars captain Grace Kara continued to find good connection with Maia Wilson, who maintained a solid 93 per cent hit rate, while the Stars' mid-court combinations continued to grow in confidence.
In an interestingly timed move, Steel captain Reinga Bloxham called her tall shooter Jennifer O'Connell off the court in the second quarter, moving Te Paea Selby-Rickit into goal shoot and Olivia Bates into goal attack.
Stars coach Kiri Wills responded with a change in her defence, calling Kirsten Hurley onto the court at goal keep alongside her English import defender Ama Agbeze.
Agbeze's defence against Silver Ferns shooter Selby-Rickit and Wilson's confident shooting form saw the Stars narrowly extend their lead to close half time ahead 33-31.
But the Steel, who came back into the second half of the match with cleaner and more confident play, kept the scoreboard tied up for most of the third quarter.
The two sides were inseparable until the final moments of the tightly-contested clash, but a quick intercept from Steel defender Courtney Elliott saw the Southerners pip a two-goal advantage.
Hesitant shots from Selby-Rickit questioned whether the Southerners could finish the job as the Stars came back to briefly close the gap, but the Steel held their nerve to claim victory and extend their winning run at home.
The seemingly unstoppable Pulse then claimed their sixth straight win of this year's season, dominating the Mystics at Auckland's Trusts Arena.
With some uncharacteristically sloppy play from the Pulse in the opening quarter, the Mystics defensive line-up showcased promise against the central side's attacking force.
But the Pulse quickly found their usual momentum to ease their way to a six-goal lead that only extended with leaps and bounds.
Mystics captain and defender Anna Harrison made good use of her ranging arms to snatch every rare rebound opportunity she could from the Pulse's star shooter Aliyah Dunn.
But it was the Mystics shooting circle that suffered most under the pressure of the Pulse, failing to score the much-needed goals to stay in the game.
Young Mystics shooter Jamie Hume faced a tough match-up against Silver Ferns captain Katrina Grant and her tenacious counterpart, Sulu Fitzpatrick.
The Pulse defending duo didn't allow Hume or Silver Fern Bailey Mes to get close to the hoop, forcing the Mystics shooters to take risky long shots.
And without their long range seasoned veteran, Maria Folau, the Mystics' scoreboard quickly reflected the Northern side's struggles.
Meanwhile, Dunn continued to shine with a near faultless 93 per cent performance that saw her side reach halftime ahead by 13 goals, 31-18.
Looking to extend their hefty lead, Pulse coach Yvette McCausland-Durie brought Silver Ferns shooter Ameliaranne Ekenasio on to the court in goal attack to anchor her attacking line up.
As the Pulse continued to pull ahead, the Mystics fell into chasing mode desperately trying to keep up with the Central side's rapid pace.
But the Pulse kept building until the final whistle, securing yet another win for their so-far incredible record-breaking season.
The Mainland Tactix will play the Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic on Wednesday in the final match of round five.