An 88 per cent hit rate at the net has helped Susan Pettitt push the Giants to a thrilling minor premiership finish over the weekend.
The final round of the Super Netball regular season provided a thrilling showdown as the Giants clashed with the West Coast Fever in front of nearly 4500 home fans at Sydney’s International Convention Centre, but it was the Giants tipping the scales 69-66 to secure the top spot in their last regular match of the year.
Straight out of the blocks from the first centre pass, and with massive support from the home crowd, the Giants grabbed an early lead. Impressive mid-court intercepts from Jamie-Lee Price (WD) and strong rebounds from Bec Bulley (GD) and Sam Poolman (GK) gave the GIANTS key turnovers.
Excellent circle movement from Jo Harten (GA) and Susan Pettitt (GS) helped them to lose their defence multiple times to secure safe under-the-post feeds, allowing the Giants to capitalise on their early effort. Fever, clearly under pressure, called a time out five minutes in, as the home side reached eight points to the visitors’ three.
By all predictions, the match was destined to be close. The last time these teams met, Fever defeated the Giants 63-61. In the first half of the game, the play was hotly contested at every pass, with players copping intense on-body play and even hitting the court hard multiple times in their relentless chase for the lead. However, it was the Giants who worked away at the lead on the scoreboard, finishing up the first quarter 21-16. By the second quarter, they had extended it to ten points, 38-28.
Despite the difference in score, the game continued to be a nail-biter, but the hosts definitely had control officials said.
Serena Guthrie (C), made a huge impact, winning two coveted tips off a centre pass, and captain Kim Green (WD) made sure her presence was felt in the attack, setting up key feeds for the goal circle.
By the third break, the Giants had a substantial 58-44 lead.
It was a slower start in the final quarter, but soon the Fever were surging for a comeback, which was enough pressure for coach Julie Fitzgerald call a time out twice within the quarter. Suddenly, with three minutes left in the game, Fever were within four of the GIANTS. In the frantic struggle to secure the win in the final seconds.
However, the Giants held on to win 69-66 and secure the minor premiership and a home semi-final.
The Giants will face a rematch with the Fever after the Firebirds lost to Lightning in their final round clash on Sunday.
The major semi-final will be played at home at Quaycentre on Saturday 11 August at 3pm AEST.