WINNER: Kirsty Higgison takes out round five of the Nutri-Grain Ironwoman Series at North Cronulla Beach yesterday.
WINNER: Kirsty Higgison takes out round five of the Nutri-Grain Ironwoman Series at North Cronulla Beach yesterday. Contributed

It all comes down to this Noosa pair in prime position

IT'S a finish every surf lifesaving fan can savour.

When joint leaders Kirsty Higgison and Jordan Mercer enter the water for today's sixth and final round of the 2015-16 Nutri-Grain Series, one is all but assured to emerge the series winner.

For Higgison, victory would make for the perfect end to her debut series and reaffirm her reasons for joining coach Darren Mercer's team in Noosa last year.

While for Jordan, winning would mean another prized trophy on the mantelpiece and becoming the first athlete to complete the father-daughter series double.

Higgison set up the mouth-watering finale by taking out round five of the series just ahead of Mercer at North Cronulla yesterday.

Mercer went into the race with a three-point advantage over her clubmate and close friend, but Higgison's win squared the ledger on 86 points.

Local knowledge and a love of competing in rough conditions proved to be the deciding factors for Higgison, who grew up a two-hour drive from Cronulla.

"I love a bit of carnage and it's so full on you never know who's going to be in the lead as it's always chopping and changing and you just have to focus on yourself," she said after the race.

HIGGISON was sitting seventh after the first swim leg of yesterday's double loop race, before making significant gains during the ski leg.

The 22-year-old then took the lead from Brodie Moir in the board leg and had built a commanding 15-second lead by the end of the second ski.

Rough conditions in the final board leg caused the series' third-placed Maddy Dunn to lose her board and drop out of contention, with Higgison cruising home ahead of Mercer.

"There were skis going in different directions and I was trying to avoid everyone's skis and paddles, which made me quite frazzled," Mercer said.

"I really enjoyed my race. I knew that it was going to be very tight, but if I can't get first place then I'm so happy to have come second.

"I am just going to keep sight of my goal, which is to stay on the podium and not drop out of the top five."

Dropping out of the top two, let alone the top five, would be near impossible for Mercer and Higgison, who would need to equal their worst performances of the year to be in any real danger.

Brodie Moir, Maddy Dunn and Harriet Brown remain within striking distance and need to win round six to have any hope of clinching the title.

Both Mercer and Higgison would have to finish worse than 10th for that to happen.



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