ANZ Premiership Grand Final Preview
Sunday, 23 August
Pulse v Tactix, 6.45pm at ILT Stadium Southland
It is the ANZ Premiership match everyone has been waiting for with defending champions Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse taking on first-time finalists The Good Oil Tactix.
The Pulse head to the Deep South with the goal of defending the title they won last season and also to deliver the ultimate farewell present to departing coach Yvette McCausland-Durie.
They ended round robin play with a loss to the Tactix, but expect a full-strength Pulse to turn up in primed for their biggest match of the season. Despite the seven-goal loss to the Tactix in Round 9, the defending champions, who are playing in their fourth consecutive Grand Final, will go into the decider as favourites.
The Katrina Rore-led side has the experience of performing on the big stage with the core of the side playing in last year’s ANZ Premiership win. They were convincing winners over the Tactix in their season opener and pipped the red-and-blacks by one goal in Round 6.
Missing from the fray were attacking playmaker Ameliaranne Ekenasio and rising midcourter Maddy Gordon when the Pulse suffered the 32-37 loss to the Tactix in Round 9.
Ekenasio has one of the most accurate radars in the shooting circle, opens up space on attack and her ability to change the tempo when needed makes her a key cog in the Pulse frontline. Her return to the court and match-up with Tactix captain Jane Watson will be just one area to watch closely on Sunday.
Watson has led by example in guiding the Tactix through to their first final. Her combination with Temalisi Fakahokotau has flourished into a formidable defensive wall and played its part in keeping the Pulse to their lowest scores of the ANZ Premiership (33 goals in Round 6 and 32 in Round 9).
At the other end of the court, Ellie Bird’s game has also grown alongside Te Paea Selby-Rickit who has Grand Final netball experience but is preparing for her first final in the red-and-black strip. I
t may be the Tactix first “big dance” but this unit has proven they are ready to rewrite the history books having won six games on the trot en route to making the Grand Final.
Victory on Sunday would mark the start of a new chapter for a club which has continually bounced back from a myriad of challenges – it would also be a fairy-tale end to one of the Tactix’ toughest seasons yet.
The ANZ Premiership Grand Final is live on Sky Sport 3 and free to air Prime this Sunday at 6.45pm.