Commentator’s Call: Double Trouble and a Double Header
The Pulse have taken the ANZ Premiership by the scruff of the neck and are shaking the living daylights out of it. The Central side has racked up five wins on the trot … the most recent a 31-goal spanking of last year’s champion Steel side.
What’s so daunting about the Pulse is the strength they have in every area of court. Much has been made of the teenage shooting duo of Aliyah Dunn and Tiana Metuarau, and with good reason.
But the eye’s also drawn to the defensive combination of Katrina Grant and the revitalised Sulu Fitzpatrick. Comparisons can be dangerous, but they bring to mind Wellington PIC’s intimidating “Wall of Death” combo of the 90s featuring Metuarau’s mother Waimarama Taumaunu and Tanya Dearns (then Cox).
As a sidebar, the 1996 PIC team was extraordinary – as well as Taumaunu and Cox, the team boasted Bernice Mene, Debbie Matoe (now Fuller), Julie Dawson (now Seymour), Noeline Taurua, Gail Parata, and Frances Solia. That was a club side!
But that was then, and now is now. The challenge in Round 5 is for the Mystics to try to lasso the rampant Pulse. The vagaries of the competition’s draw mean that although some teams have played each other twice, others have never met. Such is the situation in Auckland on Sunday evening.
Expect this to be close. The Mystics are improving, and like the Magic, have the potential to improve more. Whether or not they’ll be able to stop the Pulse remains to be seen. One thing is clear, much of the ball Mystics WA Peta Toeava is putting in to her shooters is sublime. The match up between the 1.61m Toeava and the 1.84m Pulse WD Karin Burger should be fascinating.
And there’s a double helping of Netball action on Sunday. Before the Auckland game, the Steel nurse their bruises in Invercargill against the Stars – a side still seeking their first win. The Stars were disappointing against the Magic last week, throwing away an alarming amount of ball. Fix that, and they may have a chance.
The third game of the round is in Christchurch on Monday night, when the Tactix host the Magic. The Waikato Bay of Plenty side is starting to find its groove, but will need to be on song if they’re to stop the Tactix at home.