Pulse power into Super Club semi-finals
December 10, 2019
With their backs to the wall, Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse delivered when it mattered with a comprehensive 51-28 win over the Southern Steel to cement their place in Thursday’s Super Club semi-finals in Nelson.
After dropping their opening game on Sunday, tonight’s final pool match against old rivals the Steel was not only a must-win but the defending champions also needed to prevail by six or more goals.
The tone was set from the opening whistle, the Pulse rocketing out to a 5-0 lead while keeping the southerners scoreless for the opening five minutes as they skipped into the first break with a commanding 14-3 lead.
``We really did want to go up a gear tonight and start with a bang and start every quarter in similar fashion. That urgency worked really well for us and we’ll just keep trying to work on things,’’ Pulse shooter Ameliaranne Ekenasio said afterwards.
The defensive combination of Karin Burger (goalkeeper), captain Katrina Rore (goal defence) and Renee Savai’inaea (wing defence), getting her first start of the tournament, was a disruptive presence from the outset.
Fleet-footed wing attack Maddy Gordon and the ever-consistent Claire Kersten controlled the midcourt while the shooters revelled in the steady stream of ball that came their way.
The Steel narrowly won the second quarter but the Pulse were adept at putting their foot down when they needed to, staving off any sniff of renowned Steel resistance while changes of personnel through the match were affected seamlessly.
The shooters all had a good day at the office with Aliyah Dunn shooting 26 goals from 30 attempts, Ekenasio 20 from 23 and Tiana Metuarau, who also had a brief stint at wing attack, putting up five from six.
The players have a day off tomorrow for Community Engagement Day and will meet the unbeaten Collingwood Magpies (Australia) in the first semi-final at 6.35pm on Thursday.