FORSYTHES won all four quarters for the first time this season as they guaranteed their place in the Newcastle open netball championship finals with a 42-29 win over Nova Thunder on Saturday.
Nova needed victory to have any chance of catching Forsythes or BNC Whanau for a top-four finish with a round to play. The loss left Nova on 30 points, four points behind the pair, who will meet in the elimination semi-final in two weeks.
BNC lost 43-33 to second-placed Souths Lions to end their slim top-two hopes. The Lions will take on unbeaten premiers West Leagues Balance 1, who beat Souths Pride 75-24 in round 13, in a grand final qualifier.
Maryville Tavern defeated West Leagues Balance 2 39-32 in the other match on Saturday.
Forsythes coach Traci Baber was full of praise for her side’s effort against Nova after they elected to promote shooter Sally Jenkins from their lower-division team. Under controversial competition rules, teams who bring in a lower-division player are unable to use substitutes in that match.
Despite having no reserves, Forsythes led by three, six and eight goals at the respective breaks to set up the win which moved them to third spot.
“It was nearly the best we’ve played this year, especially considering we had three players we couldn’t use on the sidelines watching,” Baber said.
Jenkins had been out with glandular fever but has returned in recent weeks. Baber said it was obvious her side needed the specialist shooter after the 72-29 loss to Wests 1 last week.
She said captain Karlie Robards was voted player of the match at centre but Natasha Robards, Aneeka Marcozzi and Angela Williams were also outstanding for Forsythes.