Red-hot Giants down Fever
THE Giants have saved their best for the last game of the Super Netball regular season, toppling league leaders West Coast Fever 69-66 on Saturday night to win hosting and boasting rights heading into the semi-finals.
The Kim Green-captained side survived a stirring late comeback by their rivals to snatch the competition lead off Fever in the final round and claim the minor premiership and hosting rights to next Saturday's major semi-final.
The Giants will now play a team still to be decided with placings two to four to be determined by Sunday's final game of the regular season between the Vixens and defending champions Lightning in Melbourne on Sunday.
The home advantage removes the stress and strain of travel from the Giants' schedule and gives them two chances to book their spot in the season decider later this month.
Out to avenge a 63-61 loss in round six, the Giants came out with intent in only their second ever game at the International Conference Centre, producing a stunning defensive effort which rattled West Coast Fever from the start.
It also paved the way for their resounding victory over a team which had sat atop the league ladder for the majority of the season.
While Fever star Jhaniele Fowler topscored in the match with 63 from 72 - one of her best totals of the season - the Giants shared the scoring with Jo Harten scoring 34 from 40 in her 100th national league appearance and Susan Pettitt netting 35 from 40.
On Saturday night, the Giants only had to win one quarter of the game to ensure they did not finish worse than third, a feat accomplished with their domination of the first period.
The Giants held possession for 58 per cent of the quarter to take a 21-16 lead into the first break.
"It's is a massive, massive advantage having the home semi-final and we couldn't be happier," said shooter Susan Pettitt, who is retiring from netball at the end of the season.
"But we certainly made it tough for ourselves in that last quarter.
"We knew they had the potential to get a lot of goals quickly but we can't let that happen again.
"Fortunately we had set things up earlier in the game but it wasn't good."
By halftime the Giants were in complete control of the match, leading 38-28, and at three-quarter time had amassed a 14-point buffer.
But the Fever rallied in the final quarter to come back to within three goals of the Giants in a performance the Sydney side will need to learn from to achieve their dream of winning the 2018 Super Netball crown after finishing runners-up last year.
GIANTS NETBALL 69 (Susan Pettitt 35 Joanne Harten 34) WEST COAST FEVER 66 (Jhaniele Fowler 63 Natalie Medhurst 2 Kaylia Stanton 1) at Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre