MATCH PREVIEW (R4): STEEL V PULSE
The bar gets set higher every time Te Wānanga O Raukawa Pulse take the court and it doesn’t seem to matter who coach Yvette McCausland-Durie calls on to do the job. This group has set the Premiership pace and are exciting to watch. But captain Katrina Grant is proving a hard taskmaster and despite netting a significant win over the Waikato-BOP Magic still feels her team needs “a kick in the butt”. “We don’t want teams to get runs on us so with them (Magic) getting five or so on us, we’ll work on that for next week,” she said. The Pulse won all four quarters for an 11-goal win when they last met the Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel in Round 1. It is the only loss for the Steel so far this season although captain Wendy Frew was far from happy with her team’s Round 3 win over the SKYCITY Mystics. “We looked a bit lethargic out there so we’ll definitely be looking at that,” she said. “The girls were trying hard but we just didn’t have that same spark we normally have.” Limiting turnovers would be key against the Pulse, she said.
WHO TO WATCH:
Sulu Fitzpatrick (Pulse) – doesn’t always feature heavily on the stats sheet but her combination with Silver Ferns captain Katrina Grant is causing all sorts of problems for Premiership attackers. Gives up 6cm to shooter Jennifer O’Connell in her match-up in the circle.
Shannon Francois (Steel) versus Claire Kersten (Pulse) – perhaps the two form centres in the Premiership, this match-up is one to watch. Francois was back to her best last week while Kersten grows with her attacking game every time she takes the court.
Wendy Frew (Steel) – is slowly edging towards a full 60 minutes on court as she continues her managed workload for her injury recovery. Slowing down in-form Pulse wing Whitney Souness will be a big ask.