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Live-wire Souness Revelling For Pulse

June 13, 2024

Adjusting to a revolving door of attacking buddies has highlighted the exceptional hand midcourt dynamo Whitney Souness has played for current table-toppers Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse in the ANZ Premiership netball league.

Through an injury-ravaged first half of the campaign, the dashing Souness has led from the front for the Pulse, dominating centre pass receives with a total of 233, 70 more than any other wing attack. Playing every minute of every game so far, the only Pulse player to do so, the little midcourt pivot has also not batted an eyelid while teaming up with six different goal attacks this season.

The centre of attention on-court, where any manner of disruption through both fair means and foul have been employed to stop the mercurial speedster, Souness, the consummate team player, is the total opposite off-court in downplaying her contribution.

With eight wins from nine outings, the Pulse hold the narrowest of edges by goal differential over the Tactix at the top of the table, a position Souness could not, even in her wildest dreams, have foreseen.

``And that’s not saying I don’t believe in the girls that have come in but when you’ve got seven on court and you lose four of your main players, you lose leadership, experience and connections, it’s big roles that we have asked to be filled,’’ she said.

``So, to have the girls that have come in and step up the way they have is something special and shows the depth in our region.

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``I don’t look at it in the respect that I’ve had to take on an extra load because the goal attacks that we’ve had have been awesome. So, I’m just grateful to be here and I don’t need to lead them too much, they just do their thing and I just try to fit in as and where I can.’’

Both the glue and the conductor on attack, Souness, 28, is a mesmerising force through her fleet of foot, change of direction and ball movement, and with it, in the form of her life. She trusts those around her and doesn’t see her role any differently despite the loss of key players.

``I’ve seen it as a situation that we’ve just had to move on with, and for me it’s been how can I find the challenge in that for myself…..keeping to my game and not dwelling on the players we’ve lost,’’ she said.

``Obviously, I’m really gutted to lose my team-mates and feel for them because I know how injuries feel but it’s almost like there’s not enough time to deal with that. You’ve just got to find a way to keep going forward.

``Because the season happens so quickly, there’s not time to worry about what’s happened, you’ve got to always be thinking of the next game.

``I do feel the intent (of opposing defenders) sometimes but that’s just how it is, I guess, and with the game getting more physical, I expect it, so it is what it is.

``I am happy with how I’m going. I come into every year wanting to work on things but this year I feel like it’s finally all coming together. I love our team and when things are good off-court it really transfers to on-court, and I’m loving it. On-court you want to do it for your mates and just have some fun playing good netball.’’

The Pulse’s true test will come on Sunday in Round 10 action when they meet fellow front-runners the Tactix in Christchurch.

Unhappy with some of the sloppy execution delivered in their last outing, Souness is looking for greater accuracy while also scoring any gains they get.

``The Tactix are very clinical and they will be safe with the ball. They don’t throw much away and if we don’t execute properly, we are not going to win,’’ she said.

``They’re strong defensively, they’ve got good attackers, they’re experienced and they’re playing some good netball. But we’re ready to go and can’t wait.’’

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