The battle for top spot on the Super Netball ladder has been blown wide open after the Giants defeated fierce rivals NSW Swifts 59-55 in the relocated derby clash at Netball SA Stadium on Saturday.
The two Sydney clubs produced a high-quality contest despite the ongoing uncertainty of another disrupted season, but a strong finish from the Giants saw them move ahead of the Swifts into first place thanks to a superior percentage.
Scores were level 29-29 at halftime following a fast-paced start that contained all the intensity and physical clashes expected from a local derby.
The deadlock continued throughout the third quarter until Jo Harten intervened with a pair of Super Shots as the Giants scored the final five points to take a 47-42 advantage into the fourth period.
The Swifts threw everything at their crosstown rivals in the closing minutes but the Giants held their composure to claim their biggest scalp of the season so far.
"The Swifts are a successful side and we really brought it to them today, I think we showed a lot of maturity out there," wing attack Maddie Hay told Nine Network after playing a crucial hand in the win.
While Hay (32 feeds, 19 goal assists) led the way for the Giants, Swifts midcourter Paige Hadley was a standout performer as she played all 60 minutes, switching between three positions, to finish with 29 feeds and 16 assists with zero turnovers.
Having already shifted to Melbourne due to coronavirus restrictions in the Greater Sydney region, the Swifts and Giants left for Adelaide on Thursday as escalating COVID cases in Victoria resulted in another lockdown.
The adjusted schedule also brought forward the second NSW derby of the season with the winner having the opportunity to close round 11 in top spot - provided the Queensland Firebirds can defeat the second-placed Sunshine Coast Lightning on Monday night.
After opening the season with four straight wins, the Giants have shaken off a mid-season funk to re-emerge as title contenders thanks to victory in three of their last four games.
"I think our main goal at the moment is just to stay in that (top) four, to get to the top of the table is obviously a safer place to be," Hay said after the Giants took a big step towards securing a semi-final berth.
"Obviously we just want to keep winning games and against quality sides like that, it gives us a lot of confidence."
While the schedule for the final three rounds is yet to be announced, what does seem certain is that the Giants and Swifts will be unable to play in their home state during the upcoming finals campaign.