Business as usual for Pulse
April 16, 2019
With their drive to keep improving, there will be no let-up from Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse when they square off against the Northern Mystics in ANZ Premiership netball action in Porirua on Wednesday night.
After enduring a miserable start to the season, the Mystics have breathed new life into their campaign with two wins on the trot and with it the emergence of talented teens Grace Nweke and Tayla Earle. Long-limbed schoolgirl shooter Nweke and midcourter Earle have added a confidence boost to the northerners while creating plenty of positive chatter.
For coach Yvette McCausland-Durie, it’s business as usual for the Pulse and the pursuit of building to new levels with each outing, as they prepare to play in front of a sell-out home crowd.
``Every game, the aim is to go out and build again,’’ she said. ``We don’t assume that we’ve got it, we get out there, we go up against that opposition and we build again.
``Everything we do is about winning a match and we want three points out of every match. We want to build from one game to the next and we’re still really clear that the outcome here is about making the Grand Final. Everything we do in performance is about working towards that goal.’’
With the 1.83m Nweke proving a handful under the Mystics hoop in recent matches, McCausland-Durie believes her in-circle defensive pairing of Katrina Rore and Sulu Fitzpatrick have had enough practise over the past couple of seasons against the similarly imposing shooting figures of Ellie Bird (Tactix) and Jennifer O’Connell (Steel).
``It’s just about reminding ourselves of the strategies that work against tall shooters and making sure we’re mobile,’’ she said.
``The Mystics will have gained some confidence but equally we’re feeling pretty confident about what we’re doing. We’ve had some more consistent results which is what we’ve been looking for but remain very aware that any opponent in this kind of game can take you at any stage.
``The fact that they’ve had a couple of wins has been a good reminder to us around our preparation and the quality of work that we need to put in, in the lead-up.’’
With increased discussion this season around the rise in physical intent from all teams, there has been plenty of finger-pointing directed the Pulse’s way.
Coach of the best defensive team in the competition, McCausland-Durie suggested that the Pulse’s defensive style, which is largely based on a man-on-man strategy, can be perceived as being more physical.
It is more traditionally associated with the Australian style, the Pulse being one of the few New Zealand teams to use it almost exclusively and with great success.
``The game is very physical and that’s not to be under-estimated. I can only talk about our players, who are physically very strong, certainly competitive and I think they’re playing really smart,’’ she said.
``They’re competitive, they challenge, we play a man-on game, that’s not say that space marking isn’t as physical but certainly you notice it a lot more when you play a man-on game. That might be where people get a greater sense of the physicality because it doesn’t let up.
``So, it’s not so much that it’s not within the rules, it’s certainly within the rules, and we’ve got one of the lowest penalty counts in the competition, but that style of game is relentless, is continuous, so that becomes challenging.’’
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