Prices chase third consecutive crown
Prices coach Mandy Whiting said her players were happy to do it the hard way.
But she is even happier with the easier path to the premier grade netball final.
The two-time defending champions are the first team through to Saturday’s decider at Saxton Stadium with Jacks and Richmond set to battle it out to determine the second qualifier.
Prices booked their place by coming back from a 15-9 first quarter deficit to beat Jacks 51-47 in a thrilling first semifinal last week, where a 5-0 run midway through the final period proved decisive.
‘‘It is very exciting and I’m excited for the girls because they are the ones doing the hard work,’’ Whiting said.
‘‘It was physical out there and they stood up, where earlier in the season they haven’t done that.’’
Prices have been forced to play the extra playoff game in the past, and Whiting said her players would not have minded returning to Saxton Stadium on Thursday to play Richmond.
Goal shoot Mahi Selby-Law, who recently moved to Palmerston North, had even bought flights home for Thursday in case she was needed.
‘‘She got a job as soon as she went up there but she had the guts to ask about coming back, so she will be back [for the final] and even booked to come back for Thursday.
‘‘That’s commitment but that’s really cool.’’
But the extra rest could prove valuable and it is a luxury Saturday’s opposition won’t have, the winner of the Jacks versus Richmond game forced to play three games in 10 days.
‘‘We’ve done it both ways [in the past],’’ Whiting said. ‘‘Our advantage is that we have some older players and some carrying injuries, so it gives them that extra rest period.’’
Many of the Prices squad have been involved in the past two championship-winning campaigns, including Whiting herself. She said they were determined to add ‘‘one more’’ title.
In other results from last week, Stoke’s 44-40 loss to Richmond means they have finished fourth, with Nelson College for Girls beating Waimea College 65-48 to secure fifth.
Prices midcourter Natalie Fullman in action during their semifinal win over Jacks.