After a long and disrupted season the Central Pulse won back to back ANZ Premiership titles last night, beating the Mainland Tactix 43-31 in Invercargill.
Covid-19 level 2 restrictions meant there wasn't a crowd but both sides were determined to put on a high quality match.
After finishing the regular season on top, the Pulse lived up to their favourites tag, denying the Tactix any chance of an upset.
The Pulse raced out to a 12-6 lead after the first quarter and despite the Tactix winning the third quarter, the defending champs looked in control throughout.
Pulse shooter and Silver Fern Ameliaranne Ekenasio said they wanted to make amends for their loss to the Tactix two weeks ago and to also send their departing coach out on a high.
"Ever since we dropped that last game to them we knew we had so much more to give and especially we wanted to do Yvette proud, she's given so much to the team and the club so we knew it was important to give her a really good send off," Ekenasio said.
Covid-19 brought the ANZ Premiership to a halt in March - after only one round had been played.
Pulse coach Yvette McCausland-Durie believes the lockdown period made the players appreciate how much they love what they do.
"To have a job that's our passion is incredible and so we came back with real energy and I was really impressed with the way the players handled themselves over that time and for them to have that time at that point of the season I think it actually allowed us to be that much fresher, coming back," McCausland-Durie said.
Pulse captain and Silver Fern Katrina Rore, said they were jumping out of their skin to get back on court.
"A hundred percent, definitely, we just wanted to play, we're all very competitive and we train to play and if you can't play it's hard to train, we're all about that weekend netball."
The feel-good team of the competition were the Mainland Tactix, who had to go into voluntary liquidation back in April.
Despite that, the Tactix made their first ever grand final and coach Marianne Delaney-Hoshek, was disappointed they didn't play to their potential last night.
Delaney-Hoshek said the Pulse were very clinical.
"They did what they do but they just did it really really well so I think you always know what sort of style it's going to be but it was sort of up another level tonight. I think they did their game plan really well and it worked for them," Delaney-Hoshek said.
Tactix captain Jane Watson said they had the makings of a Premiership team and they have restored some pride to the franchise.
"And there's been so much support I think built in our region, which has been really heartwarming so I think I'm just proud that we've made the Tactix I think exciting and a force to be reckoned with," Watson said.
Franchises have started their recruitment drives and from 1st September can start signing up current and new players.
McCausland-Durie, who is stepping down from the Pulse after four years in charge, said she was hopeful most of the current players would stay on.
"I always think that that's one of our strengths is that ability to have continuity and maintain our player group so hopefully they stay and people come and go for different reasons but certainly feel at this stage we are in a good space to continue to hold them," McCausland-Durie said.
The next Silver Ferns' squad will be announced tomorrow and it's expected a number of players who featured in the final will make the national side.
Last night's MVP Maddy Gordon is one of the newcomers being tipped for higher honours.
A recall could also be on the cards for Pulse shooter Aliyah Dunn.
Ekenasio said Dunn had taken her game to another level this season.
"So proud of how she's grown within the season and tonight she just stepped up into another level and for her at such a young age to be able to step up and do that against two really tough defenders I think just shows how much she still can grow."
The Silver Ferns selectors including coach Dame Noeline Taurua were at the final in Invercargill last night before they finalise the team.
There's been no announcements yet on any future Silver Ferns' fixtures.