March 26, 2021
The Pulse responded with plenty of character after the withdrawal of their captain Ameliaranne Ekenasio from the Te Wānanga o Raukawa hosted ANZ Premiership pre-season netball tournament in Ōtaki today.
The majestic shooter, who is also the Silver Ferns captain, is taking a break to freshen up ahead of the start of the league next month following the recent challenges of a bruising and demanding Constellation Cup series against Australia.
As a result, it provided the opportunity for others to step up, get extra game time and further press their claims without their influential shooter and playmaker on deck.
``We are mindful of looking after the health and well-being of all our athletes and this was a timely opportunity for Ameliaranne to have a break,’’ Pulse CEO Fran Scholey said
``We want her to be at her best and leading from the front when the league starts. Giving her some space now and time out to take a breather will help her re-set and be ready when that time comes.
``It’s unfortunate not to have her in Ōtaki but this is the best outcome for her while giving others in the team a welcome opportunity to get some more playing miles under their belts.’’
In a gutsy effort, the Pulse rebounded from a hefty 55-39 loss to the Tactix in their opening match with a terrific 57-46 win over a sharp-looking Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic to end the day’s proceedings.
As well as not having Ekenasio on hand, the Pulse went into their final match without fleet-footed midcourter Maddy Gordon, who fell heavily in the first game while shooter Te Amo Amaru-Tibble was forced off with an ankle injury and experienced hands Claire Kersten and Whitney Souness, who controlled the attack line expertly, were also left battered and bruised after heavy falls.
The Pulse ended the match with their two training partners Grace McLean (shooter) and Abby Erwood (defender) playing a large chunk of the second half.
The Pulse had their noses in front from the outset but the Magic threatened on numerous occasions to claw their way back into contention. In the run home, it was the young defensive line of Kelly Jury, Parris Mason and Paris Lokotui that knocked the wind out of the Magic’s challenge with a lively outing.
``We’ve got lots of new combinations out there and I think in that second half Parris and Paris showed their potential and excitement they can bring,’’ Kersten, captaining the team, said.
``We’ve got lots to work on and we’re still identifying lots of things that we want to get better at but there really are some good positive signs out there.’’
First day results:
Tactix 55 vs Pulse 39
Magic 40 vs Mystics 32
Stars 60 vs Steel 34
Pulse 57 vs Magic 46
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