Continuing a proud tradition, Central Manawa will line up for a fifth shot at the title when they meet Mainland in the 2022 Synergy Hair Netball League grand final in Auckland on Saturday.

With the exception of 2021, Manawa have appeared in every final since the inception of the league in 2016, while claiming the title on successive occasions between 2017 and 2019.

Since being elevated to the head coach role in 2020 after being the assistant for three years, Anna Andrews-Tasola has had the constant backdrop of Covid to navigate during her tenure with the 2020 season being cancelled altogether.

``With Covid and all of the challenges that have come from that and to get to a final through all of those circumstances is what I’m really proud of this year,’’ she said. ``It’s a real testament to our athletes, the resilience of these young women and their focus and dedication.

``This is a reward for them, to be able to have this opportunity to show their skills and the hard work that’s been put in behind the scenes.’’

Manawa showed plenty of character to respond in the best possible fashion when they nailed their must-win showdown against the Northern Comets (last year’s beaten finalists) in their final match of the regular season to make the last two.

``Everybody took responsibility for their own jobs, it came together as a team and we just kept it really, really simple,’’ Andrews-Tasola said.

``After taking a good look at ourselves (following a loss the week before), we were really focused, everyone took accountability and now we’ve quickly got over that win and moved on to the next challenge.’’

Saturday’s clash is a repeat of the 2017 final, Mainland, however, come into their second title-winning opportunity with the statistical edge after finishing top qualifiers by one point and inflicting a 17-goal defeat on Manawa two weeks ago.

``We keep things the same,’’ Andrews-Tasola said of the approach to the all-or-nothing contest.

``We take the learnings from the previous game and we make sure we make the adjustments this week but I also want to ensure that the girls really enjoy this moment. They’ve earnt this moment as a wider squad but we’ve got a job to do this weekend as well, so it’s getting that balance right.’’

Depending on eligibility (amount of game time at the higher level), each team has the opportunity to use ANZ Premiership players from their sister teams but the focus for Manawa will be on themselves.

``Every week we have no idea (who is going to be in the opposition) and that’s what makes this competition exciting……the challenge, being able to problem-solve and work together to find the solution to get the desired result, we just take it as it comes,’’ the Manawa coach said.

For the first time in their history, Manawa failed to make the final last year, and there’s a spring in the step now that they’re back.

NB: The match will screen live on SKY Sport at 12.05pm on Saturday, May 7