GAME BREAKER: Giants Susan Pettitt.
GAME BREAKER: Giants Susan Pettitt. MICK TSIKAS

Pettitt stands tall for the Giants

THERE is plenty of pressure in a sudden-death semi-final and Giants Netball had said they'd been preparing for this all year - and it came to the fore when it mattered most.

Down by six goals with seven minutes to go, Giants came back to defeat Collingwood Magpies 52-51 on Saturday night and put themselves through to next week's preliminary final against Melbourne Vixens.

With scores locked at 51 with just seconds to go, Susan Pettitt - who played at wing attack for the whole game for the first time in her career - took the centre pass and lobbed it into goal shooter Kristina Brice who sunk the shot to put her team in front.

Pettitt wasn't sure her final pass would find the mark and Magpies goal keeper Sharni Layton had made the Giants work all match, taking five intercepts, eight gains and four deflections, but this one got past.

"It kind of felt like we were clutching at straws near the end and things just kind of fell our way," Pettitt said.

"I don't know how that last pass of mine got in but I just threw it up and hoped for the best and it went through, so it was good.

"We probably gave Sharni some free intercepts there for a bit, a bit too low on the pass but that was a bit higher, and bloody lucky."

Giants played two of their best quarters of the past week to open the match but a few lapses in what was a physical and hard-fought match saw them fall behind on the scoreboard in the third quarter, forcing them to fight for their life.

Though the Magpies appeared to have the match wrapped up after capitalising on turnover from the Giants, huge defensive plays allowed the home team to start chipping back the lead.

A key moment came as they kept the pressure on star Magpies goal shooter Caitlin Thwaites was called for three seconds with four minutes left on the clock. The Giants went down the other end to score and bring Collingwood's lead back to just two.

Bulley said the combination between herself and Poolman was at its best but it was the effort throughout the mid-court and by the attackers that helped them do their job.

"I think we did a really good job, we have this natural understanding, we don't have to talk too much, we know where the other one is," Bulley said.

"Today we really had that good connection but it was actually the pressure put on by our attackers all the way down the court. Their contesting the ball set it up for us so I pay tribute to our attackers as well."

GIANTS NETBALL 52 (Kristina Brice 29 Joanne Harten 23) MAGPIES NETBALL 51 (Caitlin Thwaites 37 Shae Brown 14) at Sydney Olympic Park Sports Centre.

News Corp Australia

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