For the first time in 16 years, the Mainland Tactix have a chance at silverware in domestic netball, after upsetting the Central Pulse 39-32 to secure a spot in the ANZ Premiership decider.
The Tactix had a mountainous challenge on their hands – against the competition's unrivalled benchmark in the second of a back-to-back, both of which were away fixtures. But coach Marianne Delaney-Hoshek said in the lead-up they were aware of the challenges.
That translated onto the court, as the Tactix raced out to a six-point lead after the first quarter
Shooting for both sides ranged around 80 per cent, and while the Tactix matched the great supply of ball the Pulse managed, some dogged defence gave them the edge.
Ellie Bird was the star nailing 32 goals, personally equaling how much the Pulse managed.
The Tactix continued to manage their lead well with an advantage after every quarter and never allowing a hefty run of scoring.
The Cantabrians can now relax knowing their work is done with second spot secured. As a result, the Northern Mystics can finish third at best, and are all but confirmed for a third-fourth playoff against their cross-town rival Northern Stars on finals day.
For the hosts and front-runners for a second consecutive title, they were without star shooter Ameliaranne Ekenasio and rising midcourter Maddy Gordon, but it will not be an excuse for losing on home court which is no doubt a tough pill to swallow.
August 23rd is the date to circle, when both teams meet in the Grand Final, a matchup that now seemingly has some competition.