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Team first ahead of milestone moment for Pulse co-captain

Pulse co-captain Kelly Jury will notch up her 100th national league match in the Elimination Final. Photo: PhotoWellington

A significant personal milestone will sit quietly in the background when Kelly Jury lines up for Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse in Sunday’s sudden-death ANZ Premiership netball showdown with the Stars in Porirua.

Set to notch up her 100th national league outing in the Elimination Final, the rangy co-captain and custodian at the Pulse defence end has just one line of thought, a winning result and with it a ticket to the following week’s Grand Final.

Through her calm, selfless and humble nature, Jury, 26, is very much a team-first type of person but that does not diminish from the job at hand and her integral role in the team where in this year’s league she has secured the most rebounds and deflections while sitting second for intercepts.

``I’m excited to reach this milestone but I’m not a big fan of the spotlight as it is,’’ she said. ``I’m there to put out a good performance for my team.’’

Following an enterprising eight-game winning streak which propelled them to the top end of the points table, the Pulse were jolted back to reality when upended by the Tactix last weekend. Flat, out-of-sorts and outplayed across most facets of the game, the Pulse are now poised to redress that and put their best foot forward.

Much has been made of the Elimination Final being a re-match of last year’s Grand Final, again the stakes are high, but in essence, it’s a clean slate, a new game and a new opportunity.

``I don’t think history counts for much,’’ Jury said. ``If you look at our last match-up against the Stars, it was a hotly contested battle and pretty much goal-for-goal for 60 minutes.

``I would predict it’s going to be a very similar game this weekend. The Stars have been playing some really good netball. And we’re both in the same situation in coming into this game off losses.

``We’re feeling really excited and as we’ve seen for large parts of the season, when the pressure comes on, we can step up in the critical moments. This is going to be a really intense match and I’ve no doubt that the girls are going to be cool, calm and collected and be able to put out some really good netball.

``A gutsy and clinical performance is what’s going to win this match.’’

With a date in the Grand Final against the Mystics awaiting the winner, the Pulse have extra incentive to kick on as they look to farewell their coach Yvette McCausland-Durie and CEO Fran Scholey at season’s end, in style.

``We’ve got Yvette and Fran leaving, both have contributed so much for this franchise, so hopefully, we can send them off in the Grand Final as opposed to this weekend,’’ Jury said.

And that’s not to detract from Jury’s own moment of reflection when in a unique occurrence she will become the Pulse’s fourth centurion this season, behind Whitney Souness, Kristiana Manu’a and Tiana Metuarau.

Hailing from a sheep and beef farm in Makahu, ``just out the back of Stratford’’ in Taranaki, Jury would have reached the milestone much earlier but for injury.

Signing her first contract, with the Magic, in her last year at school, Jury promptly ruptured an Achilles tendon the very next day, ruling her out for a season. She also missed a season with a serious shoulder injury. Making her debut for the Magic in 2016, Jury moved to the Pulse in 2020.

``I absolutely did not think I would ever reach 100 games,’’ she said. ``I grew up watching the ANZ Championship on TV. I was a big Pulse supporter way back then, so it’s pretty cool.’’



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