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Pulse sign off pre-season tournament on a high

Pulse sign off pre-season tournament on a high

The Central Pulse held out a fast-finishing Northern Stars to wrap up a successful ANZ Premiership pre-season netball tournament on a high note with a thrilling 45-44 win in Otaki on Sunday.

The Pulse pegged back an early deficit to reel in the talented Stars team, who were created just six months ago to form the sixth team of the new elite league which gets under way in two weeks.

Coach Yvette McCausland-Durie was delighted with what the Pulse achieved during the three-day pre-season event, which resulted in three wins from four outings.
``It’s been well worth it on all fronts,’’ she said. ``For us it has been invaluable because we’ve basically had no game time, so getting four games this weekend was massive.’’

Prominent off-season signing Cathrine Tuivaiti again played a limited role, the Pulse taking a precautionary stance with the shooter’s minor calf injury.
The ever-improving shooting combination of the crafty Te Amo Amaru-Tibble and rising teenaged talent Tiana Metuarau again carried the load, the pair facing an early examination from experienced Stars captain Leana de Bruin and the athletic Sulu Fitzpatrick.

Tuivaiti enjoyed some court minutes during the first quarter, the Pulse attack line struggling against the effective defensive screens employed by the Stars. Both teams lacked accuracy under the hoop, but it was the Stars who finished with a surge to take a 15-10 lead at the first break.

With former Pulse shooter Maia Wilson playing a prominent role for the opposition and the home team let down by a high error count, the Stars sprung out to a six-goal lead before the hosts staged a stirring revival.

Strong driving play from fleet-footed midcourter Whitney Souness benefitted the shooters while a run of valuable defensive pick-ups from centre Sara Bayman and captain Katrina Grant gave the hosts renewed energy.

Playing with more purpose and accuracy, it was the Pulse who headed into the main break with the momentum after levelling the scores at 23-all.
There were changes for both teams for the second half, an exciting, close and willing contest playing out.

Growing in stature and confidence, Metuarau and Amaru-Tibble ensured the Pulse stayed in the contest, the pair improving their accuracy, availability and subtlety under the hoop with poise and polish.

At the other end, the defensive unit of Grant, Claire Kersten and Phoenix Karaka continued their impressive weekend form, pulling off a number of turnovers to dominate the stanza and help steer the Pulse to a 36-32 lead at three-quarter time.

After this weekend, McCausland-Durie and the team have gained a valuable sense of just where they sit and there is satisfaction that they are on course and heading in the right direction.

``We have found out a couple of areas we need to work on but right here and now we are in a good place,’’ she said.

``We’ve just got a couple of things to brush up on and continue to grow their (player’s) confidence in the plan. And we’ve got seven trainings left before our opening match to do just that.’’
For a full wrap of the day’s play, visit


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