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Steel outfight Magic in clash of top two

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 14/05/2017

The Southern Steel have streaked further ahead in the race for a national netball premiership grand final berth with a determined 65-61 victory over the second-placed Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic.

In what was a genuine arm wrestle between the league's top two sides, the Invercargill-based Steel were able to feed lethal goal-scorer Jhaniele Fowler-Reid with enough ball to put the match beyond reach.

The Jamaican star netted a healthy 49 from 56 shots, supplied ably by an all-Test midcourt of Gina Crampton, Shannon Francois and Wendy Frew, while Te Paea Selby-Rickit put away 16 from 21 attempts.

Jane Watson also spoiled admirably in defence.

The Southlanders took a solid six-goal lead into the final quarter, which the Magic did well to reduce to four as the seconds ticked away.

Across the four quarters, the Magic - playing their home match in Rotorua - took fewer shots but were more accurate than their opponents, with Proteas gem Lenize Potgieter nabbing 46 from 49 shots.

But in the end the Steel were able to wind down the clock and, with the help of a few Fowler-Reid clutch shots, see out the match.

The win leaves them five points clear of the Magic, who also earned a bonus point in the defeat, with six matches to play.

First place moves straight to the premiership grand final, to be contested against the winner of a playoff between second and third.

"There's always things to work on but we're in a good position," Frew said.

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