Beaten finalists in 2020, Mainland Tactix have earned the chance to go one better this year, after qualifying for the ANZ Premiership final.
The red-and-blacks have edged Southern Steel 54-49 in the elimination final at Invercargill to earn a spot against Northern Mystics next weekend.
Led by a 95 percent shooting percentage from Ellie Bird, the Tactix repelled a gutsy second-half comeback from the home side, who trailed by 11 goals at the break.
The Steel closed to within four goals of an unlikely lead midway through the final frame, but Tactix defenders Karin Burger and Jane Watson scored a turnover a piece in the final few minutes to ensure victory for their side.
Earlier, a run of eight unanswered second-quarter goals pushed the rampaging Tactix into a position of control, while the Steel were restricted to just five goals during the second 15 minutes.
With 35 shots at goal, compared to the Steel’s 21, the Tactix took a defining 29-18 lead into the changing sheds at halftime.
With Shannon Saunders spearheading a quicker passing game on attack, the Steel had more opportunities under goal in the final 30 minutes, but at the other end, Bird’s consistency (39 from 41) remained steady as a rock to help the Tactix keep their noses in front.
Both teams produced some exhilarating phases of play and while the Steel won the quarter narrowly, there was still a mountain to climb, when they trailed 41-32 at the last turn.