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Steel hold off Mystics in cliffhanger

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 7/06/2017

Unbeaten Southern Steel received the wake-up call they wanted after holding out the Northern Mystics 68-67 in a national netball premiership thriller in Dunedin.

After cutting a swathe through the opening months of the league, the Steel came within a whisker of defeat against the fourth-placed Auckland outfit.

The Mystics drew level with six seconds remaining but the hosts responded with a rapid goal to goal shoot Jhaniele Fowler-Reid.

Steel players have spoken in recent times about a desire to be seriously tested and got their wish, three weeks out from the grand final.

They are already guaranteed to host the decider on June 28, with three teams - Waikato Bay of Plenty, Central Pulse and the Mystics - battling it out for two places in the sole semi-final.

The Mystics look capable of forcing one spot given their bold display on Wednesday, led by their Silver Ferns attacking pair.

Bailey Mes won her battle with Test goal keep Jane Watson, shooting 47 of 50 shots, while goal attack Maria Tutaia was also effective, if less accurate (20/27).

Both sides were fluent through court, with wing attack Elisapeta Toeava feeding well for the Mystics while Steel centre Shannon Francois was among their best.

Jamaican international Fowler-Reid slotted 53 from 58 to continue her prolific season.

The Steel led 20-16 after the first quarter but the Mystics won each of the next two and led by four goals midway through the third quarter before trailing 50-49 heading into the final stanza.

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