Sunshine Coast Lightning are off to defend their Premiership title after a 59-50 win over minor premiers Giants Netball.
After defeating the Queensland Firebirds in their backyard last weekend in a game which could've been a grand final, it was set to be another fierce and fiery battle in the 2017 Grand Final re-match.
The Lightning had not beaten the Giants once this season with a win to the Giants and draw.
The first two quarters were a defensive battle before the Lightning found the cracks in the Giants structures in a third quarter and led by as many as eight goals. The Giants launched a last-ditch attempt to push the Lightning in the final quarter but the away team held out.
“We knew GIANTS weren’t going to let off and it certainly was physical out there. I’m so pleased that we managed to hang in there strong and push out that lead,” Lightning captain Geva Mentor said.
“When it comes to taking on Fever next week, both teams have got the capability to go all the way. It’s just about who brings their A-game and who finishes it off in the dying seconds,” she said.
It was a bittersweet ending for the Giants as Susan Pettitt and Bec Bulley, who were both retiring, and Serena Guthrie, who is returning to England, left the Qudos Bank Arena for the last time.
However, one of the most emotional moments in the game came when Giants captain Jo Harten selflessly called a timeout and surrendered her place on court to allow Pettitt one last minute of top-flight action.
The West Coast Fever will host the Grand Final against Lightning at Perth Arena on Sunday, August 26 at 1PM (AEST).