5 Jul 2016

Magic knock off lowly Adelaide Thunderbirds

7:29 am on 5 July 2016

The Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic have shaken off a sluggish start to beat the Adelaide Thunderbirds 56-55 in the final round of the regular ANZ netball season.

Waikato BOP Magic captain Jo Harten.

Waikato BOP Magic captain Jo Harten. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The Magic trailled 17-9 after a poor first quarter but quickly pegged back that deficit before it went down to the wire in the final spell.

The result, which has no bearing on the final make-up of the ANZ championship ladder, is a boost for the Magic nonetheless as they head into the play-offs.

They are destined to meet the Northern Mystics in the elimination final next weekend.

Goal Attack Ellen Halpenny was injected into the line-up in place of Paula Griffin which seemed to settle things in the attacking end.

After a far more productive second quarter, the Magic were within one of the visitors at half-time.

English import Jo Harten was prolific as usual, shooting 40 from 44.

The Thunderbirds held a slight advantage with less than two minutes on the clock when MVP Leana de Bruin pulled off a deflection to give the Magic a scoring opportunity.

Meanwhile, the Queensland Firebirds have placed themselves in the box seat to retain their trans-Tasman title after finishing top of the Australian conference ladder with a 63-52 win over the West Coast Fever.

After the New South Wales Swifts drew with the Southern Steel on Saturday, the 11-goal victory ensures the Firebirds overtake the Swifts on top of the Australian pool.

The Firebirds now have a free pass through to week two of the finals where they'll host the Australian conference final, with the winner of that match guaranteed home-advantage for the decider.