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Pulse Ticker Ticks The Box For Wilson

Former Australian shooting great Vicki Wilson could not have timed her latest rendezvous with Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse any better after watching them consolidate their unbeaten run in the ANZ Premiership netball league.

Having watched the opening four rounds from her Brisbane base via a screen, the former Australian captain, who has a wide-reaching coach mentoring role with Netball Central this season as well as being a specialist shooting coach with the Pulse, liked what she saw after being live and up close for the first time.

On hand for the dramatic clash with fellow unbeaten rivals the Tactix last weekend, Wilson was heartened by the Pulse’s gritty resilience in grinding out a battling low-scoring 36-30 win.

``I think it’s a test of team spirit and camaraderie to lose players the calibre of what they have, and yet to continue to find a way to win is testament to the coaching staff, the strong skillset and the strong conditioning base they have with all their players,’’ she said.

``It was just wonderful to be able to watch that game live in a top-of-the-table clash, a game that required a lot of grunt and persistence.

``In games like that, the easy way out sometimes is just to opt out. From what I’ve observed with the Pulse, when someone may be struggling for a moment, and a moment can have severe repercussions on a scoreline, others have stepped up around them.

``And I think that’s a sign of maturity and trust within a group and also a belief that they’ve done the hard yards in pre-season.’’

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Having completed the first part of the treble, all teams will play each other twice more and with key personnel in shooter Tiana Metuarau and midcourter Maddy Gordon out with injury, Wilson believes the Pulse will continue to be tested but significant growth has also taken place.

Heralding the start of the next phase of the session, Wilson will be on hand for the Pulse’s Round 6 match against the Stars in Wellington on Saturday before heading home.

``Khiarna Williams (shooter), her game has really improved and she’s got some good minutes under her belt,’’ she said.

``It’s the same with Amelia (Walmsley). To be able to run at goal attack, I think that is going to just add to her skillset when she goes back to goal shooter…..a shooter who has variety in their game and that’s what Khiarna also has.

``Not predictable, she can move, she can hold, she’s got a terrific aerial game. So, I just think right across the board, there will be growth in this second half of the season and that will be needed to withhold the pressure of other teams just coming at them, and they will be coming hard now because they know what they (Pulse) are capable of, even with players missing.’’

In the form of her life, and in the absence of Metuarau and Gordon, midcourt whizz Whitney Souness has taken ownership of the attack line, Wilson glowing in her assessment of the little front court conductor.

``Her sheer speed and agility just blows my mind,’’ she said.

``It was just wonderful for me to be able to see her in action live because I would never have believed it otherwise. She had the wow factor. Her repeat efforts are amazing, her work-rate has increased incredibly and she never looks pained in doing it.

``Her timing is exquisite, she’s in the prime of her career and even though she’s moving so fast, she has all the time in the world with the ball in hand. And that’s the sign of someone who is completely at ease with their positional play and where they sit in the team. It’s so fortunate to have a creative leader in amongst the youngsters.’’

A prolific watcher of netball, Wilson takes in most games across the ANZ Premiership, and Australian and England Super Leagues and has a soft spot for the way the game is played in New Zealand.

``I always get concerned if you start going with too much brute force because you lose the subtle skill which makes our game unique, and I see that skill in New Zealand and that’s what I really enjoy,’’ she said.

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