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Jury makes welcome return to on-court action for the Pulse

Caption: On the comeback trail, Kelly Jury, right, had a strong outing for the Pulse against the Steel in today's pre-season tournament action. Adrian Watkins

February, 28, 2020

Kelly Jury cut a happy figure after making her much-awaited first appearance for the Pulse on the opening day of the Te Wānanga o Raukawa hosted ANZ Premiership netball pre-season tournament in Ōtaki today.

Signing with the Pulse during the off-season, the lofty 1.92m defender has endured a long spell on the side-lines after undergoing corrective shoulder surgery but revelled in the opportunity of having her first active contact minutes since last season. Goalkeeper Jury played 15 and 10 minutes respectively in each match to help the hosts cement back-to-back 52-51 and 42-25 wins over the Mainland Tactix and Southern Steel respectively today.

``I was just really relieved to get those first minutes out there, it took a real weight off my shoulders,’’ she said.

``It’s been a long build-up and while I’ve been doing fitness work, I’ve had to sit on the bench just watching through Super Club, the Firebirds and other pre-season games, so I was fired up and ready to get out there. It was a great opportunity to enjoy it all and get rid of a few nerves.’’

Closing out the opening day’s play, the Pulse and Steel made multiple changes of personnel throughout, the pair being the only teams to play two games on the day and remaining mindful of player load.

Jury consolidated on her earlier outing to lift her performance levels a notch or two against the Steel in the 40-minute match, forming an effective pairing with Elle Temu in making life tough for the opposing shooters as she put in a solid 20-minute shift.

At the other end, shooters Tiana Metuarau (goal attack) and Ameliaranne Ekenasio provided the finishing to push the Pulse out to a 10-7 first quarter lead.

The Pulse burst out of the blocks on the resumption, the playmaking skills of Metuarau helping with a seamless delivery on attack while Jury, Temu and captain Katrina Rore put the clamps on at the other end. Outscoring the Steel 12-4, the Pulse were healthily-placed when leading 22-11 at the main break.

A similar pattern followed during the second half, the Pulse retaining a dominant position before going on to post a comfortable win.

There was little to separate the Pulse and Tactix during an evenly-fought contest throughout. The Tactix retained frontline shooters (Ellie Bird and Te Paea Selby-Rickit) and in-circle defenders (Temalisi Fakahokotau and Jane Watson) for the duration of the match while the home side took the opportunity to showcase a variety of combinations.

This included a stint at wing attack for Metuarau, with all players apart from Jury, getting at least half a game.

The southerners provided stiff defensive resistance to stifle the Pulse’s shooting momentum while bursting out to a 17-13 lead at the end of a high-scoring opening quarter. Finding their feet on attack, shooters Ekenasio and Aliyah Dunn found more ball in their hands, the Pulse finishing with a flourish to nab a 28-27 lead at the main break.

The inventive play of Metuarau, turnovers to wing defence Karin Burger and a lively outing from goalkeeper Temu gave the Pulse the upper hand through the third quarter. The Tactix fought back gamely before the Pulse steadied the ship to hit the three-quarter mark with a 43-40 lead.

The match also featured a return to Tactix colours for athletic defender Fakahokotau and midcourter Erikana Pedersen after the pair were missing in action last year due to serious knee injuries.

Day 1 results:

Pulse 52 Tactix 51

Steel 62 Mystics 57

Magic 60 Stars 52

Pulse 42 Steel 25