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Pulse look to add the polish against Tactix

The Pulse will be hoping to get more ball into the accurate hands of shooter Aliyah Dunn. Photo: PhotoWellington

March 8, 2019

The simple-sounding challenge for Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse to play smarter netball will be put to the test against the Tactix in ANZ Premiership action in Palmerston North on Sunday.

Showing commendable resilience to emerge with a hard-fought six-goal win in a defensive blockbuster over the Magic in their last outing left Pulse coach Yvette McCausland-Durie weighing up the good and not so good.

``The fact that it was a really tight one-on-one game was very useful as a reminder to us around the physicality and I was really pleased with our ability to finish it well because generally, in a dog fight, we’ve had trouble,’’ she said.

``Every quarter was tough but I was pleased with the way the players coped mentally and the way they physically adjusted. However, there’s still some huge challenges for us around the smarts, which means let’s get rid of the player, let’s do a bit more work rather than get into a foot race.

``I was certainly really pleased with the way we finished the fourth quarter, it wasn’t perfect but we started it really strongly and managed to push out a lead and deny them a (bonus) point.’’

The Pulse didn’t emerge from their second straight win totally unscathed with shooter Ameliaranne Ekenasio under a cloud for this weekend’s match after an ugly clash of heads with team-mate Karin Burger.

Happening just 10 seconds into the match, Burger was forced from the court to receive stitches in her upper lip while post-match Ekenasio was experiencing concussion-like symptoms with vision and balance issues.

``We’re following due process around a head knock and just being proactive around monitoring it and at the moment it’s a day-by-day proposition,’’ McCausland-Durie said.

The coach expects nothing less than to be pushed hard in every game but a high number of turnovers and a low volume of ball into the shooters were areas that stood out for the wrong reasons. On a positive note, the defensive pairing of captain Katrina Rore and Sulu Fitzpatrick were at the heart of the Pulse’s spirit in earning a bounty of ball back.

``We certainly felt with the tight one-on-one marking that our placement to each other wasn’t quite as accurate,’’ McCausland-Durie said. ``The receiver, potentially, didn’t do enough work so that put pressure on the passer which meant a lot of losses in that area.

``Then we forgot to look direct because they were doing a good job on the .9m mark and we lost the ability to look direct and have the confidence to send ball. Under pressure, you’ve still got to have the courage to let the ball go because well-placed ball is safe and we’ve talked about that this week.’’

Two big defeats and the loss of key midcourter Erikana Pedersen to a season-ending injury have not helped the Tactix cause but McCausland-Durie has a healthy respect for the southern team, who the Pulse have traditionally struggled against.

``They’ve got height at both ends which gives them the ability to play above us, so we’ve got to put the defensive pressure on early. What we’re asking is for our team defence, particularly our attacks, to be a lot more prominent. That’s an area we felt we didn’t have much influence in our previous game,’’ she said.

``Everyone in this competition has got enough firepower and connections to do the damage. They can shoot, they can look after ball and they don’t die, they’re fit enough to keep running, so we’re very aware of the potential threat that they offer while at the same time recognise that we’ve got to do a lot more around our own game.’’


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