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Unbeaten Pulse and Steel to clash in pre-season finale

Pulse shooter Ameliaranne Ekenasio in action against the Northern Stars at the pre-season tournament. Photo: PhotoWellington

February 9, 2019

In a fitting finale, unbeaten duo the Central Pulse and Southern Steel will square off in the last match of the Te Wānanga o Raukawa ANZ Premiership pre-season netball tournament in Ōtaki tomorrow.

Both teams kept a clean sheet on the second day of the tournament with the Pulse posting wins over the two northern teams – the Mystics and Stars while the Steel, after trailing for much of the match, staged a stirring comeback to pip the Mystics earlier in the day.

In in at times ragged clash, the Pulse negated the threating presence of twin towers in shooter Kristina Brice and defender Erena Mikaere to dismantle the Mystics 42-29 in a 40-minute match to end today’s play.

Fully utilising the extensive versatility within their ranks, highlighted in particular by midcourter Maddy Gordon and defender Elle Temu moving seamlessly into the elite level from Beko Netball League ranks, the Pulse showcased an impressive variety of combinations.

Rookie Gordon demonstrated her versatility by getting plentiful game time across all three midcourt positions while Temu impressed with the amount of ball she picked up in the Mystics shooting circle, leaving the Pulse another opportunity to lock horns with their old rivals, the Steel.

``We’ve been able to get combinations out there that we’re going to play during the season, we’ve had four good wins, everybody’s getting out there and everybody’s starting to play some great netball. It’s been great and great for our team culture,’’ Pulse captain Katrina Rore (nee Grant) said.

``We’ll try and get everyone out on court again tomorrow and do what we do but we’re still competitive players, want to win games and playing against the Steel is always one we love to get up for.’’

After absorbing a lot of early pressure, the Pulse overcame a spirited Stars team earlier in the day with a forceful second half when posting a comfortable 64-48 win.

With the experienced heads of dynamic midcourter Temepara Bailey and hard-nosed defender Leana de Bruin welcomed into the Stars ranks this year, the South Auckland-based team gave the Pulse a run for their money in an abrasive and feisty opening half.

Hitting the lead for the first time late in the first stanza, the Pulse repelled everything the Stars threw at them, showcasing their depth of talent with wholesale changes for the second half as the host team finished with a flourish.

A rejigged defence line, which included newcomers Gordon and Temu at wing and goal defence respectively, and a slick attack line where fleet-footed Whitney Souness and shooters Tiana Metuarau and Ameliaranne Ekenasio, took centre stage, helped push the Pulse out to a handsome win.

Today’s results:
Pulse 64 Stars 48
Steel 58 Mystics 56
Tactix 62 Magic 53
Pulse 42 Mystics 29
Sunday, February 10
Stars v Magic – 9am
Mystics v Tactix – 11am
Pulse v Steel – 1pm