Pulse prevail with unbeaten run at pre-season tourney
Central Pulse completed the perfect dress rehearsal after posting a comfortable 59-52 win over the Southern Steel in the final match of the Te Wānanga o Raukawa ANZ Premiership pre-season netball tournament in Ōtaki today.
Both teams were unbeaten coming into today’s final match, the 2018 grand finalists continuing their ongoing rivalry, with the Pulse, on this occasion, claiming early bragging rights ahead of the season-opening round on February 24.
In a fact-finding mission for all involved, the Pulse completed wins against all their ANZ Premiership rivals, coach Yvette McCausland-Durie claiming that despite its pre-season status, winning was all-important.
``I think every time you win it matters,’’ she said. ``It gives your team confidence, it gives them belief in what they’re doing and it gives them that potential when they head into the next game to know we’ve done it once, we can do it again, and from the mental perspective that’s really encouraging.
``We also know that at the end of the day, we’ve still got to go out and win games that actually count.’’
With most of the other teams carrying extra numbers for the tournament, the Pulse stuck with their chosen 10, all benefitting from equal measures of court time and producing a healthy rivalry amongst the group for starting spots, including newcomers Maddy Gordon and Elle Temu, who both impressed in their respective midcourt and defensive roles.
The Steel had turned around a four-goal first quarter deficit into a two-goal advantage by halftime before captain Katrina Rore (nee Grant) sparked a third quarter Pulse revival. Inspired by Rore’s exploits in grabbing multiple turnover opportunities, her team-mates joined in.
Levelling up the scores, the Pulse clicked into overdrive, the precision and accuracy returning to the attack line with shooters Aliyah Dunn and Tiana Metuarau forming a slick combination, on the back of a fine service from lively midcourter Whitney Souness. Centre Gordon was also an impressive presence through the court.
``This weekend has been hugely worthwhile,’’ McCausland-Durie said. ``It was just a great opportunity to put into place a lot of the things we’ve been working really hard on and to test them.
``They’re not perfect and we’re not there yet. We’ve got two weeks to go and we need to use that time really wisely but to have game opportunities and to have our full 10 together has been massively important for us.’’
Stars 62 Magic 51
Tactix 67 Mystics 50
Pulse 59 Steel 52