Northern Hawks have produced the biggest upset in Tasmanian netball for more than three seasons to earn a berth in State League’s pinnacle game of the year.
The Launceston club outlasted the Hobart-based Arrows from start to finish on Saturday night to hold on for a 63-61 semi-final win.
The victory that sent the Hawks straight through to the statewide grand final in a fortnight also inflicted Arrows’ first defeat in 65 matches, dating back to the side’s 2014 grand final loss.
The Hawks would gain the early ascendancy on the back of goalkeeper Kate Hyland’s rearguard action on Arrows star shooter Sophie Gunn.
Midcourter Ashton Whiley set up countless attacks at the other end, connecting up with Danni Pickett and Ashlea Mawer in the circle for a 18-14 quarter-time lead.
Danni Devlin also lifted in defence with a number of crucial intercepts, as Ruth Tuohy’s side continued to create more scoring chances to push the lead out to 36-30 at the long interval.
Arrows employed a zone defence in the third quarter and started to turn things around after the Hawks were forced into multiple errors.
But the outsiders in the grand final qualifier still maintained a five-goal buffer entering the final quarter.
Under increased pressure, the Hawks lost their grip on the ball at critical times to cough up possession.
Arrows continued to narrow the margin, but Devlin pulled off a crucial intercept that steadied the Hawks when seriously challenged.
Arrows now face Karana in the preliminary final after winning 51-48 over Kingston.