Back-to-back matches for Pulse against southern rivals
March 16, 2021
With a challenging trip south this week, the ANZ Premiership netball pre-season exchanges will crank up a notch or two for defending champions Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse.
The Pulse will play a double-header against the Steel on Thursday, the first a 40-minute match behind close doors in the morning, followed by a full game later in the day which will be open to the public.
It’s an early start on Friday when they head to Christchurch for a match against the Tactix before flying home later that afternoon.
The Pulse will be hoping to reinforce their promising start to the pre-season after delivering new coach Gail Parata a satisfying 63-42 win over Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic in their first hit-out last weekend.
``With our Silver Ferns (Ameliaranne Ekenasio, Whitney Souness, Claire Kersten, Maddy Gordon) being away for the Constellation Cup and lacking the time to practise all of our structures and strategies with the full team consistently in the lead-up, I thought we did really well,’’ Parata said.
``Everyone got an opportunity and that’s important. We’re a new team and while we have some familiarity, we want everyone to push hard for starting positions, so they all need to be tested under pressure.’’
With plenty of depth in the midcourt and shooting end, the spotlight is on a new-look Pulse defensive line following the departures of Katrina Rore, who is expecting her first child, and Karin Burger, who will ply her trade in Tactix colours this season.
With defenders Kelera Nawai and Parris Mason, midcourter Paris Lokotui and shooter Te Amo Amaru-Tibble joining the Pulse ranks in 2021, Parata is more than happy with how her newcomers have settled in.
``When I think of Kelera, where she’s come from and what she did on Saturday night against (Australian import) Caitlin Bassett, that was really heartening to see,’’ she said. ``She showed some of her exciting potential in that game. She’s still not where we can get her to but that in itself is an exciting prospect.
``With the young ones (Paris Lokotui and Parris Mason), you can see why they’re in the NZU21 squad, they definitely have the talent and ability. Te Amo, who’s been training really hard, played both goal shoot and goal attack and did some great stuff.’’
There has been plenty of mixing and matching in regards to the in-circle defensive pairing where the lanky Kelly Jury is now the senior pro and in line to spend some of her time up court at goal defence this season.
``That area is shaping up really well,’’ Parata said. ``Over the last few weeks when our Silver Ferns have been away, we have been able to put a lot of quality time into our defensive unit and where they’ve come in a short space of time is really promising.
``Against the Magic, we had Kelly at goal defence with Kelera behind her and that’s a strong combination, and then Parris Mason also came in behind Kelly and then we switched Kelly and Parris up.
``Parris provides a real change-up when she comes in with her youthful enthusiasm, throwing her body around to provide intercepts and tips which all adds to an exciting mix.’’
More time for the attackers to form their links and executing team strategies will be the focus for the upcoming games.
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