Pulse carry on winning ways
There was no shortage of sparkle as a slick-looking Central Pulse posted successive wins on Saturday against the Southern Steel and Northern Stars at the Te Wānanga o Raukawa pre-season tournament being held in Ōtaki.
Overcoming the loss of influential defender Karin Burger midway through the first quarter did not deter the Pulse from sweeping to a 48-29 win over the Stars in the final match today after kick-starting the day’s proceedings with a well-crafted 64-40 win over the Steel.
Two weeks out from the start of the ANZ Premiership, all teams are relishing a last competitive hit-out despite being without their Silver Ferns, who are on a mandatory stand-down following the recent Commonwealth Games.
After predominantly using their seven available ANZ Premiership players during this tournament, there was an early call-up for Central Beko Netball League team member Elle Temu against the Stars, the young defender slotting in like an old hand as Burger’s replacement.
Once into their stride, the Pulse team burst away from the Stars, the dyamic midcourt pairing of Whitney Souness and Mila Reuelu-Buchanan supplying a steady stream of opportunities for young shooting duo Tiana Metuarau and Aliyah Dunn.
Stand-in captain Sulu Fitzpatrick and the ever-growing stature of her young defensive partner Renee Savai’inaea kept the Stars’ shooters well contained while delivering numerous turnover opportunities.
Building a healthy lead through the first half, the Pulse were never seriously challenged in providing a satisfactory day’s work for assistant coach Sandra Edge.
``It was a good day at the office for us,’’ she said. ``We had good connections and good driving to the ball but it was still a little bit patchy at times.
``We’re now looking at having a little more consistency and reducing the turnovers. We have good momentum and then fall back a little bit, so now we’ve just got to learn how to keep going forward.’’
A strong first half provided the winning platform for the Pulse against the Steel when they headed into the main break with a handsome 36-14 advantage before facing a sterner challenge in a drawn second half.
The defensive unit of Fitzpatrick, Savai’inaea and Burger, once again, formed an impressive wall across the Steel’s attacking third. Teenaged schoolgirl Savai’inaea continues to impress in her jump up to elite level netball while Burger and Fitzpatrick supplied a steady stream of turnovers.
The attack line found its feet during the second quarter, where the silky-skilled Souness showcased her astute movement, feeding ability and vision while her midcourt partner, the fleet-footed Reuelu-Buchanan was a bundle of energy throughout.
Enjoying better quality ball, shooters Metuarau and Dunn were provided with plenty of opportunities, the team dazzling at times with their speed of play and ability to score at a rapid rate.
Scoring 20 goals during the second stanza while restricting the Steel to just five, the Pulse were unable to keep up the momentum during an evenly-contested second half.
All teams play once more tomorrow (Sunday), the Pulse coming against the Northern Mystics in the final match of the tournament.
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