Pulse complete winning double-header weekend
Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse continued to set the pace after safely negotiating their double-header weekend with a dominant 51-30 win over Splice Construction Magic at the Auckland Netball Centre on Sunday.
In a top-of-the-table versus bottom-of-the-table clash, Pulse ensured they have now kept a clean sheet against all teams in the ANZ Premiership and will meet each of them twice more during the season.
The Pulse overcame a slow start before finding their feet to run away with the match in a powerful display, preserving bodies after their tough win over the Steel the day before and the quality produced against Magic meant 10 players got a run for the winning side.
Backing up from 24 hours earlier, the Pulse presented with the same starting seven, the Magic also starting with a familiar seven but in stark contrast having their first game in 10 days. It also marked the first time Magic wing attack Whitney Souness had come up against her old team-mates.
Proceedings started at a quick clip with Magic defenders Holly Fowler and Erena Mikaere making things difficult for the Pulse shooters as they plucked off handy bonus ball. That was well backed up by captain Sam Winders who was her usual industrious self in slowing the Pulse’s momentum on attack.
It was a laboured start for the Pulse who were kept well in check by their opposites, both sides enjoying turns at being in front before a late surge handed the defending champions a narrow 12-11 lead at the first break.
Showing no signs of any weariness from their match the day before, the Pulse exploded into life on the resumption.
A run of seven unanswered goals pushed them into a position of control with all players having their moments. In-circle defenders Katrina Rore and Kelly Jury put the squeeze on the Magic shooters, getting their hands to plenty of ball while denying scoring opportunities.
Winders and her rising young opponent Maddy Gordon had a running battle throughout while centre Claire Kersten was all action in linking the Pulse attack and defence lines.
With a wealth of possession getting to their hands, Pulse shooters Aliyah Dunn and Ameliaranne Ekenasio continued to extend their advantage.
Souness fired some quality passes into her shooters but a swarming Pulse defence restricted them to just five shots as they skipped into halftime with a 29-16 lead.
The Pulse continued to hold sway during the third quarter, wing defence Karin Burger being a strong presence in keeping a stranglehold on the Magic’s attacking options.
For vastly different reasons, both teams made a raft of changes during the stanza, with the Pulse looking to manage player load and the Magic trying to limit the damage.
Tiana Metuarau made her customary appearance from the bench, slotting in at goal attack, in her 50th match, and immediately showing her vision and deft passing touch. Elle Temu also came off the bench and into goal defence while Rore went to wing defence.
For Magic, young shooter Khiarna Williams got her chance at goal attack and Jenna O’Sullivan slotted into wing defence but there was little respite as the Pulse remained well in charge when leading 41-23 at the last turn.