The new-look Southern Steel has pulled off the upset of the opening round of the trans-Tasman netball championship, with a narrow 49-47 win over the visiting Waikato Bay Of Plenty Magic in Invercargill.
Sporting nine changes from last season and no Silver Ferns next to the Magic's class of Irene Van Dyk, Casey Williams and Laura Langman, the Steel were all square at half-time but trailed by six goals heading into the final quarter at the Stadium Southland velodrome.
But the Steel were relentlessly intent in the last stanza and took a one-point lead with five minutes to play as turnovers cost the Magic.
The lead got out to as much as four before the Magic clawed it back in the last minute but couldn't clsoe the gap.
The Steel's veteran shooter Donna Wilkins led all scorers with 33 points from 35 attempts while Van Dyk shot a perfect 30 from 30.
Over in Perth the West Coast Fever routed the Canterbury Tactix 55-35, the 20-goal thrashing a good start to former Australia coach Norma Plummer's reign, as the once-easybeats are now top of the ANZ Championship.
The Fever are the only Australian side not to have won the competition - could the wily Plummer turn that around in her first season?