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Pulse fired up to kick on

May 26, 2016

Pulse fired up to kick on

More of the same is the focus for Central Pulse ahead of their ANZ Championship netball clash with Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic in Tauranga on Monday.

In falling just short against runaway leaders of the New Zealand conference the Southern Steel in their latest outing, the Pulse turned on their best showing of the season and with it gained a shot of confidence.

For Pulse defender Phoenix Karaka it was a welcome step in the right direction.

``I think we showed improvement in all aspects of our game against Steel,’’ she said.

``The connection between the defence and attack, just the flow that we had was way better than what we’ve had previously. It’s taken a while to get there but it’s good to actually feel that we’re now achieving something.’’

Part of the Silver Ferns silver medal-winning team at last year’s World Cup, Karaka has been frustrated by a slow start to the season after making the switch from the Steel this year. But alongside her captain Katrina Grant, the pair showed signs the defensive end for the Pulse is beginning to click, both delivering strong performances against Steel.

``Up until now we have struggled with balancing both ends and getting them going well at the same time,’’ she said.

``I don’t think Katrina and I have been performing to the best of our ability but we’ve both had a few setbacks during pre-season and in-season with injury and health issues.

``That had a lot to do with our connection but now that we’re both fit and able go at 100 percent, we’re actually getting more of what we want on court. The game against the Steel was a real test for us to prove that we can actually do it.’’

Not all that long ago, Karaka plied her trade as a shooter where she still has the odd stint for her club side but loves nothing better than bringing the attacking side to her defensive game.

As a result, she is quite happy when coach Tanya Dearns switches the roles of her defenders, the athletic Karaka enjoying the running and room to move role of goal defence while also sharpening her ability to read the game from goalkeeper.

``I thought it was going to be hard coming to the Pulse but it’s been easy to just slip in,’’ she said. ``Half the team’s new, so it’s been really easy to just get involved and be myself.

``I really enjoy Wellington and love being here. I just love the culture that it has….there is no one culture, it is a very diverse city.

``With such a new team and what’s happened in recent games, there has probably been a little bit of self-doubt but how we played against Steel has really helped with our confidence and self-belief. There was definite improvement there and now we’ve just got to keep that going.

``Even though it was a loss, I think all of us came off the court actually happy, for once, with our performance.’’

On their home court and with experienced campaigners Leana de Bruin and Grace Rasmussen back from injury, Magic will present a stiff challenge, the team on the rise after securing successive wins.


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