There was a poignant touch to the Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic's win in Auckland on Monday night with revelations that Irene van Dyk's mother had died hours before the game.
In typically courageous fashion, van Dyk didn't just play on but starred; it was one of her goals courtesy of a brilliant intercept from Leana de Bruin - the South African connection again - which tied up the game 44-all and forced it into extra time.
Afterwards, van Dyk was understandably emotional.
She had earlier received a call from her husband to say that her mother, also Irene, had died at home in South Africa following a long battle with cancer.
Van Dyk described it as the toughest day of her life.
As if the news wasn't tough enough to deal with, the game was incredibly physical and as always, van Dyk was a target.
In retrospect one could see that van Dyk's usual sparkle and smile, normally present throughout games, weren't there.
She wasn't enjoying the game, but something was fuelling her performance.
She will play Sunday's final against the Vixens in Melbourne before flying to South Africa for the funeral.
A key on Sunday will be the ability of the Magic to shut out the local crowd and adjust to the nuances of a mix of Australian and Kiwi umpiring.
The Magic have twice been beaten grand finalists - losing away to New South Wales Swifts in 2008 and against Adelaide Thunderbirds in 2010. Victories in the ANZ Netball Championship by Kiwi teams in Australia have been rare.
A concern for the Magic will be fatigue, particularly because the Vixens will have had an extended rest before the game. Meanwhile, after 74 minutes of high-octane netball, the Magic will have had to fly across the Tasman and prepare for another massive game. It won't be easy.
Then again, the Magic have a winning momentum, with 11 straight wins. Twice they have lost grand finals away. But will it be third time lucky?
If they didn't already have sufficient inspiration for one final push, van Dyk's courage may have given them an extra incentive.
- © Fairfax NZ News