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South head home in search of victory

The screws need to tighten on defending champions Netball South if they hope to reach the final two of the Beko Netball League.

With just two wins under their belt, time is running out if they want to defend the title they won last year.

But they have the advantage of playing at home this weekend when they meet Hellers Netball Mainland in Dunedin on Sunday for Round 7 of the Beko Netball League.

In other matches, Netball Waikato Bay of Plenty (WBOP) hosts the Northern Marvels at Cambridge High School while High Wire Trust Northern Comets travel to Otaki to play Netball Central.

The Central side still holds the top spot with 20 points and look unstoppable en route to the June 18 Grand Final in Auckland, while Mainland is seven points clear of third-placed WBOP.

South’s wins have come over Northern Comets and WBOP, but got within one goal of Mainland in the final quarter when the two teams met back in Round 1.

Mainland went on to win the game 44-36 and have showed in recent weeks they can hold out fast-finishing opponents having been pushed by the Marvels and WBOP for one and two-goal victories respectively.

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South have seen some of their squad get court time in the ANZ Premiership including promising young shooter Aliyah Dunn who got two minutes court time for the Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel last week.

Dunn is on the radar for national selection having been named in the NZU21 and NZ Secondary Schools squads, while the talented athlete is also a member of the Junior Tall Ferns, and will again be a player for Mainland to watch. She is likely to be up against Mainland defender Kelera Nawai in a key match-up with the latter again impressing in the defensive circle last week with seven deflections and five intercepts.

Meanwhile, WBOP continues to be the team to watch and now have the advantage of playing at home for the remaining five rounds.

They meet a Northern Marvels side – which came within one goal of the second-placed Mainland last week – and only two goals separated them when they played in Round 4. The three bonus points (for finishing within five goals) have kept the Marvels in touch with fourth-placed South but they too will need victory to keep their finals hopes alive.