ANZ Premiership: Northern Stars keep final hopes alive with win over Southern Steel

Northern Stars have kept their slim ANZ Premiership final hopes alive by beating Southern Steel 50-43 in Auckland on Saturday night. 

Led by shooter Maia Wilson, who converted all 39 of her attempts at goal, the Stars claimed their fourth win of the season. They will need to win their remaining three games to have a chance of qualifying for the final on August 23 in Invercargill. 

Steel Midcourter Kate Heffernan.
Steel Midcourter Kate Heffernan. Photo credit: Photosport

They also need lots of results to go their way, as they are four points behind Northern Mystics, who have two games in hand, while second-placed Mainland Tactix are seven points clear, after playing one more game.

The Stars were rarely troubled by the short-handed Steel, as they led 16-7 at the end of the first quarter and never looked back. 

The introduction of goal shoot Ellen Halpenny made an impact for the Steel, but the Stars did enough to hold a 26-19 lead at the main break. 

A high-scoring third quarter didn't help the Steel, with the Stars extending their lead by a single goal, taking a 38-30 advantage at the last turn.

The match was the last of the season to be played at the Auckland Netball centre, with teams finishing the season playing 'home' games. 

The ANZ Premiership continues on Sunday with a pair of games further afield - Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic host the Tactix in Hamilton, while the league-leading Central Pulse face the Mystics in Wellington. 

On Monday, the Steel are back in action against the Magic, while the Stars don't play until August 9, also against Waikato-Bay of Plenty.

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