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Home away from home cauldron for young Pulse shooter

Young shooter Aliyah Dunn will be playing for the opposition when she fronts for the Pulse in her hometown of Invercargill against the Steel tomorrow

July 1, 2018
Sensational young shooter Aliyah Dunn will experience a homecoming with a difference when Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse meet the Southern Steel in ANZ Premiership netball action in Invercargill on Monday.

Born and bred in Invercargill, the 18-year-old has made a significant impression since moving north to Wellington in the off-season and teaming up with the Pulse for her first season at the elite level.

Blessed with an unflappable temperament, the 1.9m rock under the hoop has won plenty of admirers with her assuredness, accuracy and ability to score lots of goals. On Monday, she will return home to a venue which has often proved a graveyard for visitors.

``She’ll be excited to get home and she’ll have a huge amount of support which could be quite useful for us,’’ Pulse coach Yvette McCausland-Durie said. ``It’s her first time playing there in an ANZ Premiership, so to be out on court and not playing with necessarily the home support could feel a little bit different but I have huge faith in her.

``She’s really composed, she loves the pressure of playing, she just loves to get her hands on the ball and enjoys shooting, so if she just keeps her tasks simple, then she’ll be successful.’’

McCausland-Durie couldn’t have asked any more of the rookie and how she’s fronted up this year in helping the Pulse set the pace from the outset.

``She has settled really well, she’s an absolute rock for us in the back and we’re very aware that it’s her shooting volume and accuracy that’s keeping us in games and in front at the moment.

``There’s a lot of work that everybody else does and I can’t say enough about the quality of the ball that she gets but ultimately, you’ve got to finish it off and she’s taken that role really responsibly and continues to keep chugging along at it.’’

It is the third match-up between the pair this season with the Pulse posting comfortable wins in the first two meetings. But McCausland-Durie has a healthy respect for the Steel and the team’s successful record in Invercargill.

``Invercargill is a real fortress for them, they’ve got a huge amount of support and they’re a well-loved team in their community,’’ she said.

``I’m sure they’re disappointed that their last two games weren’t wins, so that’s always a potential backlash and we’re riding on the back of that. We have a heightened awareness about this match.’’

Losing just the one match to date, McCausland-Durie is looking for the Pulse to eradicate the lapses which occurred during their last outing against the Northern Stars.

``I definitely want to see more fluidity from us on attack,’’ she said. ``That was disrupted by the Stars last week, so we need to have a bit more courage, work on taking defenders on and really working hard to get to the places we want to get to.

``The rest is just executing the basics well……turning hard with the ball, sighting down court and making really accurate decisions.’’

On a personal level, McCausland-Durie could feel overdue, having never won at Stadium Southland during her career as a player or a coach.


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