Pulse still have plenty to play for
July 31, 2018
With one sitting in the box seat and the other more delicately poised, it hasn’t distracted from what is shaping as a mouth-watering showdown to end the ANZ Premiership netball regular season.
Having sealed the minor premiership in the previous round to claim a direct route to the Grand Final, Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse will meet a desperate Northern Mystics, who have everything to play for, tomorrow (Wednesday) night in Wellington.
With the opportunity to secure third and a place in the Elimination Final still alive, there’s no doubt that the northerners will come out with all guns blazing but Pulse coach Yvette McCausland-Durie believes her side have just as much to play for. With that in mind, it could be a heck of a match.
In terms of their build towards the August 12 Grand Final, a win in this match is an important component for the Pulse and that means getting past a talented team with their backs to the wall and intent on sending their captain and Mystics stalwart Anna Harrison into retirement in style.
``We’re very aware of the progress they’ve been making, particularly in the last four rounds so it’s important for us to have a really good performance because that builds confidence going forward,’’ McCausland-Durie said.
``So, regardless of the Grand Final we’ve got a game before that which we’re hot on the heels of.
``There’s a lot at stake for them, so they’re going to come at it hard. They’ve got a lot to play for and we feel we’ve got a lot to play for, too.’’
With a combined six Silver Ferns across their shooting and defensive ends to choose from and rising young talent in the midcourt, the Mystics provide the Pulse with plenty of food for thought, McCausland-Durie welcoming the opportunity to solidify and improve on their last outing.
``They’ve got really good threats across the court which you would expect at this time of the season,’’ she said. ``A lot of the links have now started to make strong connections within their attacking and defensive units, so I think they have improved but I’m also confident in what our group can do.’’
Posting a win apiece in their previous two clashes, there’s also the added drive to nail the decider in the head-to-head exchanges.
``It is nice to have the security of knowing we’re going into the Grand Final but what you also need to know is that you’ve got the solidity within your line,’’ McCausland-Durie said. ``For us, a complete performance is necessary because we’ve been a little bit up and down in the last few weeks, so we’re going for gold.’’
The Pulse coach is looking for high levels of accuracy, increased shooting volume, staying connected with the through-court links, courage to let the ball go on attack and being smart about the turnover opportunities.
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