It comes down to just five teams with just eight points separating first placed West Coast Fever and fifth-placed Sunshine Coast Lightning.
Collingwood Netball v NSW Swifts
It was a must win for the Swifts if they wanted to keep their slim finals chances alive but the Magpies had emotion behind them as fan favourite Sharni Layton announced her retirement during the week. However, the Swifts have had their Super Netball season come to an end after a 57-57 draw in dramatic style.
Both teams went hammer and tong for every second of the match in a see-sawing encounter that saw fight back after fight back. At one stage the Swifts let slip a five-goal lead.
It was Erin Bell who seized control for the Magpies in the final quarter and brought them right back into the contest. She finished the game with a long-range goal right on the buzzer to secure the draw.
West Coast Fever v Queensland Firebirds
The Firebirds became the first side to beat Fever twice this season, beating them earlier this season in Brisbane, with a 60-54 win away from home. It was also the first win over any away team in Perth this season.
The win was built on the defence of goal keeper Laura Geitz and the goal attack Gretel Tippett who finished with 19 goals, 21 assists, four rebounds and an intercept. However, a new gem was found in Kim Jenner who had a blinder in defence.
The match didn't start the way the Firebirds wanted it to as the Fever quickly went into the lead with a 31-28 at halftime but the Firebirds had the answers.
They locked down their defence to restrict the Fever to just 10 goals in the third quarter and 13 in the final quarter as the Firebirds surged in attack.
“We’re still looking for that four quarter performance, at least we can show we have got the capability, it’s now getting the consistency and pushing through," Fever coach Stacey Marinkovich said.
Adelaide Thunderbirds v Sunshine Coast Lightning
A surging Lightning put the Thunderbirds to the sword with a 75-44 victory. Lightning not only claimed all eight points on offer, which left them on equal points with the Firebirds, they boosted their percentage significantly and put themselves right in the frame for a run at finals.
“We’ve got to get into the top four. There are five teams in the running and anything can change between the second and fourth positions" Lightning coach Noeline Taurua said.
“With two more games to go in the competition round robin, we’ve just got to make sure we control what we can and do our best during the week to prepare ourselves,” she said.
The Thunderbirds were outplayed by Lightning, who dominated from start to finish forcing 31 turnovers, intercepted the ball 12 times and enjoyed 56 per cent of the possession.
The match was also the 50th appearance for Lightning goal attack Steph Wood in the national league.
Melbourne Vixens v Giants Netball
The Vixens winning streak is over after the Giants absorbed pressure to take a 60-58 win. It was set to be a fierce match as both sides were eyeing top spot after the Fever lost.
“Being in these tough matches, it identifies all those little areas that you have to work on and that’s not just the physical or the tactical, that’s the mental, being in situations where you have to work your way through it,” Vixens coach Simone McKinnis said.
Nervous start from both sides as Giants try to end the Vixens winning streak. Giants lead early but neither side has found their rhythm yet. #Allontheline #VIXvGIA #SuperNetball pic.twitter.com/2iwFZcHFpB— Roy Ward (@rpjward) July 22, 2018
“If you’re going to go and play finals there’s no better preparation than to be playing some tough matches leading into it,” she said.
For the Vixens, it was an extra special occasion with goal attack Tegan Philip's making her 100th national league appearance. The Vixens fell into an early hole, losing the first two quarters and trailing by as many as seven goals before finding their spark.
It was a desperate battle in the final quarter with just one goal the margin and it became a matter of who would blink first. Jo Harten secured the win in the final minute for the Giants.