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Pulse starting to show their true colours

Captain Claire Kersten was an inspiring figure for the Pulse during the pre-season tournament. Photo: Adrian Watkins

March 28, 2021

In another character-building outing, the Pulse left a satisfying imprint in the final match of the Te Wānanga o Raukawa hosted ANZ Premiership pre-season netball tournament in Ōtaki.

The Pulse continued to exhibit the exciting potential in their midst with a gritty come-from-behind 55-53 win over the Northern Mystics, in the process showing a growing maturity while blooding a host of new young talent.

With captain Ameliaranne Ekenasio having a break and not taking part in the tournament, the rest of the team put their hands up and delivered.

Taking over the captaincy, rock-solid midcourt maestro Claire Kersten led from the front, her turn of speed, execution, defensive nous and encouraging words to her younger charges had a pleasing flow-on effect.

``Everyone acknowledges that Ameliaranne is a massive part of this team,’’ she said.

``We have missed her but it was amazing to see people step up…… Whitney (Souness) at goal attack, (shooter) Grace (McLean) played some great netball when she came on and it’s just so cool they’re able to have those experiences and show what they can do.

``I think we’ve seen a lot of growth this weekend. We’ve obviously talked about how we’re a pretty new team, we’ve got lots of new combinations out there, lots of young guns, so this weekend has been really valuable to have time to cement some of those combinations and see what people are made of.’’

Against the Mystics, yesterday’s revelation, and the now not so secret weapon of Souness playing goal attack, was given another crack and while playfully admitting her luck had run out in terms of her success rate, it did nothing to diminish her skill set and value as she skipped between the circle and wing attack.

Maddy Gordon donned all three midcourt bibs with seamless efficiency while the young defence line played its part when the chips were down, expertly led by Kelly Jury, who roamed between goal defence and goalkeeper and delivered a fine tournament.

Laidback shooter Aliyah Dunn acclimatised to three different partners under the hoop with minimal fuss and was pivotal in steering the circle with her rebounding ability and accuracy.

``She’s very unassuming but the ball that she pulls in from some of the feeds we give her probably makes us look a bit better than we actually are,’’ Kersten said. ``She’s always a tower of strength for us and I can’t say enough about her play.

``I think we’ve continued to build and seen growth and development in every pre-season game that we’ve had and while there’s still plenty to work on, it’s an exciting place to be.’’

Against the Mystics, the Pulse led 15-12 at the first break ahead of trailing 33-26 at halftime and 42-38 at the last turn. Unable to stop the steady flow to towering opposing shooter Grace Nweke and her accomplished side-kick Saviour Tui, the Pulse surged time and again, their persistency finally breaking the deadlock with three minutes to go.

The Pulse had a shaky start to the tournament after being humbled 55-39 by the Tactix on the first day but followed up with impressive wins against the Magic, Stars and Mystics in a solid dress rehearsal before the season starts in three weeks.

Final day results:
Magic 69 vs Steel 49
Stars 49 vs Tactix 49
Pulse 55 vs Mystics 53


Ends

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