Souness shines in Pulse thriller
March 27, 2021
Playing out of position, Whitney Souness turned on a giant-killing role as the Pulse produced a stunning finale to the second day of the Te Wānanga o Raukawa hosted ANZ Premiership pre-season netball tournament in Ōtaki.
The pint-sized pivot swapped from her more accustomed role of wing attack to goal attack for the second half against the previously unbeaten Northern Stars. In the process, Souness turned on a dazzling display of creativity, flair, speed and movement all neatly packaged in her slight 1.73m frame as the Pulse clinched an exciting 61-53 win in the game of the tournament to date.
Looking to make it a perfect three-from-three, the Stars were mown down by a Pulse team, who are increasingly finding their feet, in a powerful push to the line in the final stanza.
Thin on numbers with captain Ameliaranne Ekenasio, the team’s key cog at goal attack, being rested for this tournament, the ever-humble Souness gave the appreciative crowd a sample of her complete skill set.
``I have not played goal attack since college so it was a shock but fun to be back there,’’ was her quick summation.
``It was awesome to play with (shooter) Aliyah (Dunn) and our whole attacking end and it was just cool to change things up,’’ she said.
Souness scored her first goal in the opening two minutes of the third quarter and went on to convert eight from nine for a stellar night’s work in supporting the ever-reliable Dunn.
Souness described it as a fluke but the unflappable Dunn, who was a tower of strength under the hoop, probably produced the quote of the night with her comment, ``she made my job easy.’’
``Our team this year is awesome, lots of changes, lots of new ones and young ones and that’s exciting to see what we can do this year,’’ Souness said.
The Pulse took time to settle, quicky falling 9-2 behind before finding their groove with a stirring fightback, the teams going goal-for-goal to end the first quarter in a 12-all stalemate.
The Pulse matched the Stars with some swash-buckling play of their own. Captain Claire Kersten and Souness were prominent in lifting the forward momentum and in the same vein delivering a steady service into the shooting circle while wing defence Maddy Gordon proved the perfect spoiler.
At the other end, the in-circle defensive pairing of Kelly Jury (goal defence) and Kelera Nawai joined in on the act, the long reaches of both setting up timely turnover ball with shooting training partner Grace McLean doing her bit to nail the shots.
There’s was no let-up for the next two quarters with both sides producing an exciting spectacle with some dazzling court play as the pair went neck-and-neck with no quarter given.
Both sides made changes for the second half, with Gordon taking over from Souness at wing attack and Paris Lokotui taking over at wing defence.
The Stars introduced Maia Wilson and Amorangi Malesala into their shooting circle, the pair adding some panache under the hoop to edge momentarily ahead before the Pulse reeled them in. Taking a one-goal lead into the final turn, the Pulse powering home with a 19-12 match-winning streak.
day 2 results:
Tactix 64 vs Mystics 56
Stars 47 vs Magic 27
Mystics 66 vs Steel 57
Pulse 61 vs Stars 53
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