ANZ Premiership: Northern Mystics boosted by return of star shooter Grace Nweke for sudden-death encounter with Northern Stars

Northern Mystics have received a major boost for Wednesday's ANZ Premiership elimination clash with crosstown rivals Northern Stars.

The defending champions will be back to full strength, with star shooter Grace Nweke cleared to play and at least two of their COVID-19 casualties also fit to take the court.

Nweke's back on court in the nick of time.

"It's been pretty touch and go," she said.

Nweke has been cleared to play, after suffering a nasty ankle injury last month.

"It's been quite hard," she said. "I've never had to sit on the sideline and watch my team play before, so I'm excited to put the dress back on, and get out there and play."

The watch hasn't been easy for Nweke - since she was sidelined, the Mystics haven't won a game, but departing coach Helene Wilson says her absence has only made the team stronger.

"The gift the injury gave us has allowed out team to work at other parts of the court," said Wilson. "I think the learnings we've had in the last couple of weeks, coupled with Grace's return, will allow us to play strongly."

They'll need that against the in-form Stars, still searching for that elusive first ANZ Premiership crown.

Northern Stars shooter Maia Wilson
Northern Stars shooter Maia Wilson. Photo credit: Photosport

"I want to win so bad!" said shooter Maia Wilson. "For someone who's been here since day dot for the Stars... we got so close in 2019." 

They're under no illusion the contest will be another fast and physical encounter with plenty to play for on both sides.

"There's been a lot of chat in the team about what this means to us, what the season means for us," said Nweke. "With Helene's departure and a lot of trouble and challenges towards the back end, we just want to put out a good product."

Both teams hope to end a difficult season on a high.