ANZ Premiership: Mainland Tactix, Northern Mystics continue progress towards playoffs

Mainland Tactix and Northern Mystics have continued their march towards the ANZ Premership playoffs, with one round remaining.

But the southerners have had to come from behind in the final quarter to edge Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic 49-47 down the stretch, while the northerners almost blew a 12-goal third-quarter lead to squeak home 56-54 against Central Pulse.

The Tactix trailled early against their rivals, rallied over the middle stages, but found themselves 43-41 midway through the fourth period and having to play catch-up.

Shooters Ellie Bird and Te Paea Selby-Rickit rattled off four consecutive goals to snatch the advantage, and Magic counterpart Caitlin Bassett's near-perfect performance could not bring her team back in the dying moments.

Bassett succeeded with 40/42 attempts on goal - her two misses came in the final two minutes, but were both rebounded and converted to keep her team alive. Tactix wing defence Charlotte Alley made a crucial interception in the final seconds that enabled her team to survive.

Bird shot 38/42 for the Tactix, while goal defence Karin snatched five intercepts.

Already assured of their playoff spot, the Mystics sealed a berth in the grand final, four points clear of the Tactix and seven ahead of third-placed Southern Steel, who have two games in hand.

They seized early control of their encounter with the defending champions Pulse, leading 19-12 after the opening quarter and 46-34 late in the third.

The Pulse still trailled by eight goals with five minutes remaining, but shooters Te Amo Amaru-Tibble and Aliyah Dunn reeled off seven straight to close within a goal, with less than 30 seconds left.

The Mystics had centre-pass and were able to control possession, with Grace Nweke slotting a goal on the final buzzer. 

The Mystics and Tactix will meet in the final regular season outings next Sunday, while Southern Steel and Northern Stars face off on Monday, with both fates still in the balance.