The Melbourne Vixens are back on top of the ANZ netball championship standings after a hard fought 49-41 victory over the Central Pulse in Porirua.
The 2009 champions achieved the fast, strong start they had demanded of themselves, and finished off the match with a flourish - but the middle stanzas belonged to the Pulse, who gave everything in their effort to pull off an upset.
The Pulse lost wing attack Katarina Cooper to a knee injury in the first quarter and they struggled to regain composure and found themselves 18-8 down going into the second quarter.
The Vixens led by six points at half-time and seven at three-quarter time.
So the Vixens are top with 18 points, the same as the Northern Mystics, while the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic, the Adelaide Thunderbirds and Sydney Swifts have 16. The Pulse are seventh on 10.
In the final round next weekend the Vixens play the Southern Steel, the Mystics play the Swifts, the Magic play Queensland and Adelaide play Canterbury.