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Consistency looms as biggest challenge for Pulse against Stars

The Pulse face a testing outing against the Stars in Porirua tomorrow night. Photo: PhotoWellington

April 2, 2019

Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse have the perfect opportunity to put a defining stake in the ground when they meet a well-credentialled Northern Stars in ANZ Premiership netball action in Porirua tomorrow (Wednesday) night.

Flying high but still not firing on all cylinders, the Pulse have lost their way at times through a lack of consistency, a familiar theme emanating from all teams across this year’s competition.

Despite their lofty status at the top of the table and unbeaten after six rounds, Pulse coach Yvette McCausland-Durie has no doubts her players have barely scratched the surface of their capabilities coming to the halfway point of the season.

``I think we’re okay,’’ was her summation. ``It’s been great to have the wins and it’s easy to talk about things you can fix when you’re winning but I guess we’re just slightly frustrated with our inability to perform with consistency.

``That’s a reflection of the competition as well, we’ve been put under pressure which you would expect, so that comes down to our decision-making. The strategies are good, the skill-set’s there, we’ve certainly got the players buy-in and along with that, we’ve got some variation that we can run, so really, it’s just around execution and diligence.’’

Sitting on a record-equalling six straight wins, the Pulse are on the cusp of recording the club’s most successful winning streak. A win tomorrow would be the best in the club’s history and an important outcome with half the season still to play out.

``The key with the points system the way it is, is to be getting points from every game,’’ McCausland-Durie said. ``Ideally, that’s a three and if it’s not a three, to be staying in the fight to make sure that you close in and are getting at least one point (for finishing within five).

``Points in every game matter but maintaining momentum and winning is huge and it gives opportunity down the track to look at some variations in terms of both structures and personnel. You can do that when you set a good platform but at the moment our platform’s been inconsistent, so that’s difficult for people to come in on court and add value when we haven’t given them a good platform to work from.’’

The Pulse had great success in getting the ball into the hands of ever-consistent shooter Aliyah Dunn when the teams met three weeks ago but could face more resistance in that area this time.

``I think we’ve got enough variation to either go direct or play a short ball down (to circle), so it’s really just about the discipline in reading that accurately,’’ McCausland-Durie said.

``That’s probably our biggest challenge. To get consistency in our performance our decision-making needs to be sharper and that comes down to both their mental acuity and just their decisions when there’s two options on, which is the one that really makes the difference?’’

The Stars will come in full of confidence after securing the Northern Challenge Trophy for the first time at the weekend and with six former or current Silver Ferns in their ranks pose a formidable challenge.

``I think they’ve been one of the most consistent teams in the competition,’’ McCausland-Durie said.

``They’ve got good balance across the court. They’ve got shooting consistency, tenacious middies and defence that can get turnover ball, so they’re a pretty balanced side and certainly been on the improve.’’


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