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Pulse only unbeaten team after two days of pre-season action

Switching between wing attack and goal attack, Tiana Metuarau made a valuable contribution in the Pulse's wins over the Steel and Magic. Photo: Adrian Watkins

February 29, 2020

Moving seamlessly between two positions, it was Tiana Metuarau who came through with flying colours for the Pulse at the Te Wānanga o Raukawa hosted ANZ Premiership netball pre-season tournament in Ōtaki today.

The Pulse were left the only unbeaten team after the second day of the tournament when completing a comfortable 61-42 and slightly more challenging 39-36 wins over the Northern Stars and WBoP Magic, respectively.

With regular wing attack Maddy Gordon ruled out of the last match of the day against the Magic after receiving a heavy knock to a quad, Metuarau picked up where she had left off earlier in the day, rotating between the shooting and pivot positions, with considerable success.

The loss of Gordon gave the Pulse’s attacking depth a solid workout with coach Yvette McCausland-Durie happy with the team’s response and progress after four matches.

``To get the wins is a really important piece and nice but we’re also realistic that there’s a lot of work still to do before the season opens,’’ she said.

``So, there’s still lots of learnings we take out of every game, regardless of the outcome.’’

Both teams were guilty of wasting too much possession in a messy opening quarter which ended in a 10-all stalemate at the first break in the 40-minute contest. The productive shooting partnership between Kelsey McPhee and Abigail Latu-Meafou helped the Magic push out to a four-goal advantage, the Pulse bouncing back to trim the visitors’ margin to a narrow 21-20 lead at the main break.

The pair delivered a thrilling goal-for-goal counterpunch through the third stanza, each side picking off a flurry of spectacularly athletic intercepts to ensure an exciting run to the wire after the game was all locked up at 30-all at the last break.

The Pulse weathered the relentless Magic storm, the experienced head of centre Claire Kersten and accurate shooting of Aliyah Dunn and Ameliaranne Ekenasio eventually guiding the ship safely home.

In their first match of the day, it took the Pulse most of the first half to subdue a spirited Stars challenge before compiling a dominant second half to complete a comfortable win.

Stars’ in-circle defenders Oceane Maihi and Kate Burley made the Pulse shooters earn their keep, creating numerous turnover opportunities to ensure a steady supply to in-form shooter Maia Wilson as the northerners kept their noses in front during the opening stanza.

The Pulse hit the lead three minutes out from the main break and were not troubled from that point. Trailing by three after the first quarter, the hosts reversed that difference when leading 27-24 at halftime.

Increasing their overall intensity levels and with defenders Elle Temu and Katrina Rore turning up the heat on the Stars’ shooters, the Pulse continued to stamp their mark with a forceful outing. Pulling out to a 42-32 three-quarter time advantage, the hosts put the seal on the match with an equally impressive final stanza.

Slipping seamlessly between wing attack and goal attack throughout the game, an unfazed Metuarau left a strong impression on proceedings with her creativity, vision and shooting skills.

``I’m getting more used to that scenario all the time,’’ she said afterwards. ``I’m surprising myself a little but it’s not too unfamiliar. Last year I played almost something similar to a wing attack role as a feeder most of the time.

``This year I’ve worked really hard on my shooting and this just adds a bit of versatility and a different dynamic to the team.’’

Day two results:

Pulse 61 Stars 42

Magic 57 Steel 47

Tactix 56 Mystics 50

Pulse 39 Magic 36