Skip to main content

Back-to-back wins for Pulse in Round 9

Midcourter Whitney Souness was in sparkling form while delivering a MVP performance against the Tactix. Photo: PhotoWellington

Defending champions Te Wananga o Raukawa Pulse stayed composed to hold off the Tactix 54-45 in Christchurch on Monday, and in the process get within a hair’s breadth of the lead on the ANZ Premiership table.

It was the second victory for the Pulse in Round 9, and they delivered the Tactix their second loss in as many days.

But it wasn’t until the last stages of the fourth quarter that the Pulse finally took control of a physical hard-fought match. Up until then, the Pulse would string together impressive scoring streaks, while the Tactix repeatedly chipped away to stay in touch. 

``I don’t think the scoreline’s a true reflection of how that game felt, it was a grind but it was great to be able to put our foot down in the last quarter and break away,’’ Pulse co-captain Kelly Jury said afterwards.

``They’re a great side, there’s always going to be some tough match-ups, I think the umpires handled the physicality really well and there was lots of clean netball in there as well.

``From here, we just need to keep working on the basics. There were opportunities earlier on in the game where there were crucial moments where we could have pushed it out, so it’s just about refining those must-score moments.’’

Despite the loss, it was a much-improved performance from the Tactix after their 24-goal loss to league leaders the Mystics the previous day. Perhaps none more so than Te Paea Selby-Rickit, who scored 100 percent of her 27 attempts. 

The Pulse, led by the performances of Whitney Souness up front and Jury at the back, are now on equal points with the Mystics, who stay ahead on goal difference.

Now in fourth spot, the Tactix were missing key defender Jane Watson, still nursing a leg injury. But her stand-in goalkeeper Kate Lloyd came out hungry for the ball.

Her defence on the shot and tips proved vital to keeping the Tactix in the game, after the Pulse had taken an early three-goal lead in the first quarter. The battle between Lloyd – nicknamed the Flying Javelin by coach Marianne Delaney Hoshek - and Pulse shooter Amelia Walmsley was the highlight of that opening spell.

Errant passing by the Pulse allowed the Tactix to take the lead a minute before the quarter ended, going into the break 15-14 up.

But it was the Pulse who dominated the next 15 minutes – starting with a well-time intercept from wing defence Fa’amu Ioane. 

The sharp circle defence of Jury and Kristiana Manu’a reduced the Tactix’ shots on goal – even though the home side were shooting at 96 percent accuracy – and a run of five put the Pulse in control.

A late run by the Tactix brought them back within two at halftime, down 26-24, and they managed to continue the momentum when they returned from the locker-room to take a one-goal lead early in the third spell.

Manu’a walked gingerly off the court after being caught in a collision with Paris Lokotui, introducing Parris Mason to the Pulse circle, and she quickly made her presence felt with superb ball-handling skills.

With Tiana Metuarau, Maddy Gordon and Souness driving confidently through court, and looking long to Walmsley, the Pulse went on a six-goal spree, keeping the Tactix scoreless for over four minutes.

But the pendulum swung back again - Lloyd and Karin Burger pulling off a perfectly-timed Harrison hoist to put off a Pulse shot and Laura Malcolm long bombs into Te Paea Selby-Rickit (who’d moved to goal shoot with Vika Koloto at goal attack) had the Tactix back in the game again.

Selby-Rickit kept up her faultless shooting record right on the three-quarter buzzer with a sublime long shot that brought the Tactix within one, 38-37.

Gordon fell heavily on her back, and hit her head, so had to leave the court at the start of the last stanza, but she was soon cleared to return to dictate the Pulse attack. 
With both teams desperate for the win, and with still nothing in it, the play was fast and furious and plenty of bodies hit the deck. But in the final stages, the Pulse took their biggest lead of the game 

Shooting stats

Aliyah Dunn 18/20 (90%)
Te Paea Selby-Rickit 27/27 (100%)
Vika Koloto 0/3 (%)

Amelia Walmsley 45/54 (83%)
Tiana Metuarau 9/11 (82%)

MVP: Whitney Souness (Pulse)