Competing against New Zealand's elite netballers at the Lion Foundation National Championships has proved the perfect preparation for three South Otago students.

Otago A have successfully defended their Lion Foundation Netball Championship crown for 2013 defeating Hamilton in the final on the final whistle.

In a match worthy of a final, less than eight points separated the teams across the whole 60 minutes with Hamilton chasing down the deficit to level the match in the dying stages.

Of the two Semi-Finals at the Edgar Centre at the Lion Foundation Netball Champs, the showdown between unbeaten Auckland and defending champions Otago A was always going to be a close affair.

In front of hundreds of vocal Otago supporters in Dunedin, the teams traded goal for goal in the opening stanza with Otago pushing out an early advantage helped by the accurate shooting of Te Paea Selby-Rickit 9/9, and Kate Shearer 9/10.  Some erroneous passing by Auckland in their attacking end saw Otago hold a two goal buffer after 15 minutes as the match increased in intensity.

Defending champions Otago A are off to a flying start at the Lion Foundation Netball Champs at the Edgar Centre in Dunedin winning their opening pool game against North Harbour this morning.

Leading 20-13 after fifteen minutes, Otago stretched the lead at halftime, winning the match 80-43.

The re-signing of New Zealand U21 star Stacey Peeters and fellow midcourter Gina Crampton completes the Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel’s 2014 squad.