The Central Pulse, who have their trans-Tasman netball finals hopes in their own hands, are wary of the Northern Mystics spoiling the party.
For Shooter Donna Wilkins, the equation is simple.
Win their last three games and the fifth-placed Central Pulse will guarantee themselves a spot in the trans-Tasman netball league playoffs for the first time.
A defeat might not be terminal, but it will take their fate out of their own hands.
“Realistically, it’s win every game from here and we’re in,” Wilkins said.
But Wilkins also knows that the run-in, starting with the Northern Mystics in Palmerston North on Sunday night, is a tough one.
The Pulse finish with back-to-back matches in Australia, where they have yet to break their duck, and one of those is against the team sitting immediately above them, the Queensland Firebirds.
“The importance of winning this Mystics game is huge for us,” Wilkins said.
“It’s definitely not going to be an easy task. They’re probably out of top-four contention, but they can still spoil the party for us.”
The Pulse, who beat the Mystics 53-47 in Auckland in March, are coming off two successive wins, the first over the high-flying Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic.
The Magic are in action on Monday night against the last-placed Mainland Tactix and looking to get their campaign back on track.
After a run of five victories to start the season, the Magic have lost their past two matches, and three of the past five.
They are one of four teams tied on 14 points at the top of the championship and second behind the Melbourne Vixens on countback.
Assistant coach Margaret Forsyth said the Magic needed not just a win over the Tactix, but a big one to increase their goal percentage.
As for the loss of fluency in recent Magic performances, Forsyth said that wasn’t the result of lack of belief or preparation, and the players had gone into matches ready to go.
“For some reason, when we’re looking at penetrating on attack and letting the ball go, we’re getting a bit conservative,” she said.
“It’s something we need to push through.”