24 Jul 2016

Southern Steel's ANZ netball season over

4:51 pm on 24 July 2016

The Southern Steel have just missed out on creating ANZ netball history after pushing the defending champion Queensland Firebirds all the way in the semi-final in Brisbane.

Shannon Francois of the Steel gets the ball ahead of Kim Ravaillion of the Firebirds in an earlier ANZ match in Dunedin.

Shannon Francois of the Steel gets the ball ahead of Kim Ravaillion of the Firebirds in an earlier ANZ match in Dunedin. Photo: Photosport

The Steel went into the last quarter two goals ahead but the Firebirds eventually won 67-64.

The Steel were playing for the first ANZ grand-final to be held in New Zealand but the result means the Firebirds will host the final next weekend against either the New South Wales Swifts or the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic.

No one gave the Steel a chance to upset the Firebirds, who have not lost at home since round one last year.

The Firebirds had a three goal lead after the first quarter but the Steel then took the initiative in the second spell, off the back of some good defensive work from Jane Watson and Te Huinga Reo Selby-Rickit.

The Steel took the lead five minutes into the second quarter and they would not relinquish it until early in the final term.

The Firebirds threatened to run away with the game when they put as many as five goals on the visitors but the gutsy Steel never gave up.

In what was a frenetic final quarter, the result was only sealed in the dying minutes.

Firebirds shooter Romelda Aiken was jittery under the post but it was her ability to pull in the rebounds that counted. She finished with 57 from 68.

Her Jamaican compatriot Jhaniele Fowler-Reid shot 51 from 52 for the Steel.

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