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Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse Defeat Trident Homes Tactix 36-30 In Palmerston North

Finding the attacking answer in a defence-heavy battle, Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse have maintained their place at the top of the ANZ Premiership with a win over the Trident Homes Tactix.

In what was a masterclass in defence from both teams, the Pulse netted a 36-30 victory over the Tactix at Fly Palmy Arena in Palmerston North.

The superlatives for the efforts on defence had run dry by the main break as the intercepts, tips, deflections, and gains added up faster than the goals – resulting in the equal lowest combined halftime score in the history of the ANZ Premiership and Championship competitions.

Despite being early in the competition, there was a sense of importance to this result in what was a top-of-the-table clash.

The defensive arsenal at either end of the court promised plenty and they delivered, much to the detriment of the scoreboard.

Goals were scarce as the attacking ends struggled to navigate their way through the defensive pressure – the Pulse able to unravel those answers faster to net their fifth win on the trot and hold their place at the top of the league ladder.

They again called on experienced midcourter Claire Kersten to pick up the vacant centre bib with Maddy Gordon out of action, while Kiana Pelasio got the start at goal attack.

There were no surprises in the Tactix line-up with Paris Lokotui preferred at wing defence with Ellie Bird again at goal shoot.

From the opening whistles, the influence of the defensive prowess was clear – the shooting wobbles evident from both teams as they found themselves under immense scrutiny.

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It took over three minutes for the Pulse to register their opening points and just 30 seconds later to level the scores.

The full court defence from the hosts posed plenty of attacking questions for the Tactix as they were loathe to go over the long reach of Kelly Jackson – a standout with eight intercepts.

At the other end of the court, Whitney Souness showcased her speed and feeding abilities as she found Amelia Walmsley through the wall of red-and-black.

A couple of early footwork calls against the Tactix gave the Pulse the edge on the scoreboard but with goal keeper Jane Watson in a hunting mode, the visitors were always within reach, trailing 7-9 at the first break.

It prompted Tactix coach Marianne Delaney-Hoshek to turn to her bench with Jess Allan introduced into the goal attack bib with Te Paea Selby-Rickit moving to the shooter role in place of Bird.

Neither shooting circle looked settled however under the relentless pressure from defence – the accuracy suffering under the spotlight with the Tactix landing 53 per cent of their attempts and the Pulse 59 per cent.

It saw the two coaches look for something different to break the shackles with Bird brought back on court in place of Selby-Rickit and Khiarna Williams coming on for the Pulse with Walmsley moving out to goal attack.

Hunting as a pack, the Pulse gave few options for the Tactix on attack and Delaney-Hoshek wasted little time looking for the answer with Greer Sinclair coming into the centre role and captain Kimiora Poi moving to the wing.

The turnovers continued for both sides in arguably the biggest defensive match of the league to date.

The 16-13 scoreline in favour of the Pulse at halftime was testimony to the immense battle unfolding at either end of the court.

No changes were made to either line after the break, but with the Pulse opening a five-goal buffer just a couple of minutes into the spell, the Tactix brought Selby-Rickit back into the mix.

With Souness igniting the Pulse frontline, the hosts started to take control.

But the Tactix were not to be outdone – Poi at her best – and a run of five goals got the visitors back in the hunt before a buzzer beater from Walmsley gave the Pulse a 26-22 advantage heading into the final spell.

Official Result and Stats:

Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse: 36

Trident Homes Tactix: 30

Champion Data Match Centre

Shooting Stats - Pulse:

Amelia Walmsley 29/35 (83%)

Khiarna Williams 7/10 (70%)

Kiana Pelasio 0/4 (0%)

Shooting Stats - Tactix:

Ellie Bird 18/22 (82%)

Te Paea Selby-Rickit 11/16 (69%)

Jess Allan 1/1 (100%)

ANZ Fans' Player of the Match:

Parris Mason

© Scoop Media

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