Trans-Tasman champs Magic united to end
As all of the Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic players filed into the press conference after the trans-Tasman netball league grand final, it further illustrated this was a team full of unity and self belief.
After they had pulled off an unlikely 41-38 win in the trans-Tasman netball league decider against the Melbourne Vixens, all of the Magic players lined up the front of the bench in the press conference at Hisense Arena to bask in the glory of a title - something which has been a long time coming for them.
"I think it's a good illustration of what the season's been about, together we've been through ups and downs," Magic captain Laura Langman said.
After being the only team to make the playoffs each year of the competition, but never having the ability to go on and win the games that really matter, the Magic turned that round in a big way this year.
Their season began horribly with four losses on the trot but they amazingly came from last place, finishing the season with 12 successive wins and coming from behind to win all three of their playoff games.
It really was one of the most remarkable comebacks of recent times.
In the final they again found themselves trailing throughout, including by six in the third quarter, but their never-say-die attitude brought them home.
"It's a massive moment," Langman said of taking the title.
"Man, it's unreal.
"Very proud. It's been an incredible journey with ups and downs.
"I think it just showed what incredible character this side has. It was such a rollercoaster ride and it just shows it comes down to the last whistle and whoever's in front is the victor.
"It's certainly been five years in the making I can tell you that. And it feels really nice to have finally got the recipe right. Just an incredible moment. And I really hope people like Noels (coach Noelene Taurua), our management team, our board, who have been together for five years, really enjoy this moment."
The Magic's support at the match was awesome and they managed to become even louder than the Vixens fans when they urged the visitors home in the late stages.
"I always knew we had a really strong Kiwi contingent coming over and man it was just brilliant, you couldn't have asked for better," Langman said.
Magic coach Noeline Taurua said despite their poor start to the season, she always believed her players had what it takes to go all the way.
"I knew it was going to be hard and I thought out of our lot that we could actually get to number one," she said.
"It's fantastic. Obviously this is the last bit on the paper that we wanted to achieve this season."
She said the experiences of fighting back over recent weeks helped them through and that going into the fourth quarter they switched their mindset.
"We let the result go and decided we were going to go out and play some netball," Taurua said.
And rather than describe the title win as a relief, Taurua chose "pride" to sum up her emotions and said she felt tired after going through everything they have.
Vixens' coach Julie Hoornweg said she felt "hollow" after the match.
She said missed shots cost her side and that they perhaps didn't have cool enough heads under pressure, as Karyn Howarth and Tegan Calwell shot at a sloppy 69 per cent.
Hoornweg said she was still proud of her side making the final, saying no-one had rated them during the season.