Wounded Pulse ready to make amends
May 10, 2019
Reinforcing their credentials is a key focus for Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse when they clash with the Northern Stars in ANZ Premiership netball action in Wellington on Monday.
The Pulse were stopped in their tracks in the latest outing by a well-performed Southern Steel to end their 11-round unbeaten streak but still remain very much in the box seat to claim the Minor Premiership with two rounds of the regular season left.
``There was lots of good chat after the Steel game and they’re now just ready to go,’’ Pulse coach Yvette McCausland-Durie said of her charges.
``We’re at the business end and if you’re going to get knocked over by one little ripple you don’t deserve to make the far end of it. We’ve got to keep being true to the fact that we’re still in the No 1 position, we’re still in charge of our own destiny, we still have opportunities ahead to make a legacy for this club and that’s a key driver for us.’’
The Pulse have set the pace throughout the competition to date but most teams have continued to improve through the latter half of the season. The Stars experienced some mid-season wobbles but are desperate to prove they deserve to be in the Finals Series and have got the necessary firepower to be a disruptive presence.
``We’re finding everybody’s coming with a fair bit of fight,’’ McCausland-Durie said. ``All the teams are pushing right to the end just to make the most of the last rounds and put themselves in better positions.
``We’ve been experiencing that now for five weeks with everybody coming hard at us. We equally know that our responsibility is to be better prepared and make sure that we’ve learnt from previous rounds.
``We’re really aware that everyone’s improving and we saw that over last weekend’s Super Sunday. We’re realistic that these are still tough games in the round robin.’’
After watching footage of the Steel match several times, McCausland-Durie described the Pulse’s performance as stagnant.
``We got scared about what might happen next rather than being in the moment. The Steel played really smart, were quite creative and we were too slow adjusting,’’ she said.
Heading into the penultimate round, the Pulse have had their buffer at the top of the table trimmed to four points, adding extra significance to the match-up with the Stars. The winner of the regular season (Minor Premiers) take the direct route to the Grand Final while the second and third-placed teams play an Elimination Final to decide the second finalist.
``The key thing is we know we’ve got two matches that we wanted to keep getting points out of, so that hasn’t changed our focus but equally that we want to keep evolving and developing,’’ McCausland-Durie said.
``That’s probably the most important learning, not just from the last round, but all rounds. So, we’re wanting to make sure we’ve got some variations and these are the last opportunities to do that, so we need to have some courage to mix that up.
``Against the Stars, we’ve got to be a lot more mobile on defence and create the opportunities to get ball which means having the courage to go and get it and attacking-wise just that whole understanding that when you’ve got possession, the discipline around maintaining it, is key.’’
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