The Net Blacks have booked a second straight FAST5 Netball World Series finals berth after beating a determined and youthful South African side.
The 38-31 victory sets the Net Blacks up to take on Australia in tonight’s grand final in Christchurch.
Shooter Junior Levi, who turned in an MVP performance against South Africa, said the Net Blacks were forced to “grind” out a win against a South African team who never let up.
Turning out in the FAST5 action this year had been plenty of fun for the shooter who was enjoying the atmosphere and crowd at Wolfbrook Arena.
“I’m loving it,” he said after the win.
“I love having the live music – I’m a bit of a dancer, so it’s been really good. Lots of fun.”
Levi said the Net Blacks would need to eliminate a few of their “little errors” to get another win over their trans-Tasman rivals and a second straight World Netball Series title.
“If we can tighten up some of that discipline – getting rid of some of those little errors that can creep in in FAST5, that would be good.”
He said he was enjoying the fast pace of the FAST5 action which forced him to change his own game plan on court.
“For me the ability to grow my game outside of being someone who just puts the shot up and just waits for the ball to come to them, has been great,” he said.
“I think I’ve been able to use a bit more of my playmaking and netball nous which for me has been a favourite thing. It’s good to get out there and play some netball and get involved.”
The Net Blacks showed their dominance early on against South Africa, keeping them scoreless early on but the nature of FAST5 and the power plays meant the team in green came back strongly in the second and third spells.
South Africa never relented in the third quarter, and it was just one point separating the two teams turning into the final spell, the Net Blacks ahead 26-25.
The men’s FAST5 final between the Net Blacks and Australian Kelpies will be played at 5.30pm.