Mavs stay in hunt for finals with tense win over Giants

Adrian Warren |

The Mavericks’ Kim Jenner (left) had an absorbing battle with the Giants’ Matisse Letherbarrow.
The Mavericks’ Kim Jenner (left) had an absorbing battle with the Giants’ Matisse Letherbarrow.

The Melbourne Mavericks have won another nail-biter to ensure they go into the last round of Super Netball with a chance of making finals, squeezing out a 55-54 away win over the Giants.

It was the first time in their brief history the Mavericks had won back-to-back games, and it lifted them to fourth on the ladder – for at least a couple of hours.

The Mavericks have scored three one-goal wins this season, including successive victories over the Lightning and Giants over the past two weeks.

A huge defensive play from the Mavericks’ Kim Jenner  in the final minute at Sydney’s Ken Rosewall Arena helped the Victorian team overcome a late deficit on Saturday.

They trailed 54-52 with just over 90 seconds remaining after impressive young Giants shooter Matisse Letherbarrow (14/15) nailed a Super Shot.

English international Eleanor Cardwell (19/24) levelled the scores with her own two-point shot with just over a minute left.

Jenner, who had a dislocated finger strapped in the second quarter and didn’t return until after halftime, then pulled off one of the intercepts of the season 

She won the ball and managed to get it to a teammate despite heading into a huge collision with the Giants’ Amy Sligar. 

“It’s always body on the line for those last two minutes, that was our finals right there,” Jenner told Fox Sports.

Her courageous act ultimately led to Cardwell making the winning goal with 32 seconds left.

“It’s crazy, we love those tight games at the end,” said Jenner, who tallied six deflections, five gains and two intercepts. 

“It’s so good to know that we can get over the line on these really close games.”

The Mavericks have a tough last-round fixture away to finals-bound West Coast Fever next  Saturday.

Defeat ended the Giants’ faint finals hopes. The last-placed Sydney-based side are in danger of collecting their first wooden spoon after suffering a fourth straight defeat, though the past three have all been by five goals or less. 

With both sides effectively playing for their season, it was a pressure-packed affair, with plenty of first-half turnovers and both sides struggling to find their flow.

The Mavericks led by two at the first change, but the scores were tied at halftime.

In the last two minutes of the third quarter the Mavs increased their lead from two to five as Shimona Jok (34/35) made three straight shots and the Giants’ Sophie Dwyer (21/28) missed successive Super Shots.

The Mavericks shot at almost 87 per cent for the game, and the Giants at just over 80 per cent.

AAP