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Challenging trip south awaits Pulse

June 16, 2017

Challenging trip south awaits Pulse

Delivering something a little different is the approach Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse will take for their final-round ANZ Premiership netball clash against a wounded Southern Steel in Invercargill on Monday.

Having sealed their spot in the Finals Series, finding the balance between winning and tinkering is the Pulse’s challenge a week on from the Steel’s frightening car accident, in Christchurch, which left four of their frontline players nursing injuries and out of action.

``This is a good opportunity for us now that the qualifying part’s done,’’ Pulse coach Yvette McCausland-Durie said.

``Where we’re placed, we can have a look at new combinations which offer a point of difference while taking on the challenge of changing a few little bits of our plans so that going into the Elimination Final, we’ve actually tried a few other things out.’’

There’s also the prospect of an elusive win against the unbeaten Steel enhancing the Pulse’s chances of hosting the Elimination Final but the bigger picture remains the main focus for the coach.

``We want to work on tidying up,’’ she said. ``Our last game against the Stars wasn’t a complete performance and we know to get into a cross-over match and win that to make the final is going to be a pretty tough ask, so if we can brush up on a few things through this game on Monday, then that gives us a greater sense of confidence going into the Elimination Final.’’

The availability of the Steel’s walking wounded remains a day-by-day proposition but with inspiring captain Wendy Frew and shooter Te Paea Selby-Rickit appearing the worst affected, the southerners will be far from full-strength against the Pulse.

They showed their real character when assembling an assorted line-up of players at short notice to take on and beat the Tactix within 48 hours of the accident, in a gritty and united display. McCausland-Durie is expecting nothing less when they take on the Pulse in front of what is expected to be a large emotionally-charged home crowd.

``They’ve got a lot of pride and haven’t got to the position they’re in because they don’t take their game seriously. They’re a tightknit group which includes their Beko league players and that makes a big difference,’’ she said.

``It was a reasonably seamless display by them bringing players in and they will be absolutely wanting to go through to the final unbeaten. And they will have their head well and truly in performance mode and be ready to push us as they do every team each week.

``As a group we’ve kept in touch with them. We were with them at the airport just before they departed for Christchurch. It makes you very aware of just how precious things are. You talk about chasing points and wanting to do well and all those sorts of things, and they’re just so minimal on the scale of making sure the welfare of people is at the forefront.

``We’re really looking forward to seeing them and really glad that we’re going to have a chance to catch up with them. They’re friends of players and people that we’ve worked with.

``No one backs down when they’re out on court and you wouldn’t expect anything less but we’re people first and opponents second and you share a lot together.’’


© Scoop Media

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