Pulse power away to decisive win over Magic
In masterful mode, Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse turned on a decisive showing to outclass Splice Construction Magic 52-29 on Friday.
At opposite ends of the table, Magic, with just the one win were always going to face an uphill battle against the unbeaten defending champions.
And so it proved, Pulse led from start to finish, extending their lead throughout to post their eighth straight win of the season.
Magic struggled to contain their well-drilled opponents, lacking patience at times as the Pulse took full toll in punishing any indiscretion.
Consistency remained at the forefront for the Pulse who opened with their well-performed starting seven of recent weeks. For Magic, the long-limbed Erena Mikaere continued with her venture up-court at goal defence with exciting young prospect Georgia Tong getting the start at goalkeeper.
With two of the quickest wing attacks on show, Maddy Gordon, for the Pulse, and Whitney Souness, coming up against her old team, there was plenty of speedy movement in both attacking thirds but it was defence that ruled early on.
There was a flurry of turnovers both ways before the Pulse settled first, rattling in five goals in a row to take a healthy six-goal lead. The long reach of Pulse goalkeeper Kelly Jury proved a disrupting influence against her former team.
However, a mini revival from the Magic kept them well in touch when the Pulse led 10-7 at the first break.
The Pulse picked up regular turnover ball on the resumption, midcourters Claire Kersten and Karin Burger proving an effective wall in regards to the Magic’s struggles with second phase play. At the back, Jury continued to be a menace, getting her hands on plenty of deflected and intercept ball.
Gordon was an electric presence in all factors, the Pulse pushing the button with their speed through court where lying in wait was the league’s most accurate finisher Aliyah Dunn to provide the polish while also notching a rare intercept.
Tong remained a shining light for the Magic with her ability to snaffle ball but was not helped when her team’s shooting percentages fell away, the team recording just six goals in the stanza.
It was the Pulse who went on to hold a handy advantage when leading 24-13 at the main break.
Elle Temu stayed put after replacing Rore at goal defence halfway through the second stanza while talented schoolgirl shooter Khiarna Williams replaced Kelsey McPhee under the hoop for the Magic in the third stanza.
Williams played a handy role for the Magic with good accuracy but it was much the same from the Pulse who were relentless in all facets.
Damaging on defence, extra quick to anything loose and delivering perfectly-placed ball to her shooters, Gordon remained a constant threat. But she wasn’t alone, Dunn and Ameliaranne Ekenasio showed their ability to keep their opponents guessing, sharing the shooting load expertly to provide a dynamic presence while Jury was a constant thorn
With her night finished, Dunn departed for Tiana Metuarau late in the quarter with a 19 from 21 return, the Pulse not missing a beat as they charged on. Scoring the last three goals pushed the Pulse out to a commanding 41-22 lead at the last break.
Bearing in mind, they will be backing up again tomorrow, the Pulse introduced the powerfully-built Renee Savai’inaea at centre for Kersten, and 11th player Grace Mclean at goal shoot, for Ekenasio as the defending champions continued to put their foot down.