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2023 ANZ Premiership Elimination Final Preview

2023 ANZ Premiership Elimination Final Preview

We take a look at this Sunday’s ANZ Premiership Elimination Final between Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse and Robinhood Stars in Porirua.

Sunday, 28 May

Pulse v Stars, 3.50pm at Te Rauparaha Arena in Porirua

The ANZ Premiership defending champion Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse may have the edge when they head into Sunday’s Elimination Final, but they will be too savvy to discount a Robinhood Stars unit riding high on reaching the top three. 

The two teams have met three times this season with the Stars winning the opening encounter, but the Pulse having claimed the next two - albeit by narrow margins - and will also have home advantage when they host the sudden-death match. 

The Pulse had the opportunity to earn the direct path into next month’s Grand Final but stumbled against the Tactix last week which ended their run of eight wins on the trot. 

Pulse captain Kelly Jury said her side wasn’t able to dominate in any areas of the game and lacked consistency throughout the court. 

“We weren’t tidy enough and we made too many basic errors,” she said. 

“We really wanted to go straight through to that Grand Final spot, but we can’t drop our heads.  We get another home game which is awesome for our fans.” 

The Stars however may have taken note of the Tactix’ game plan which disrupted the Pulse’s timing and caused hesitation in their ball delivery. 

They too enter this must-win game on the back of a loss but have the firepower to grab an upset on the road. 

The footrace through the middle will be one to watch with the Stars’ engine room in Gina Crampton, Mila Reuelu-Buchanan and Samon Nathan going head-to-head with Maddy Gordon, Whitney Souness and Fa’amu Ioane in a match-up which promises plenty. 

The clash of the captains will also be worthy of a ticket-price alone with Stars skipper Maia Wilson the most accurate shooter in the league while Jury has the most rebounds, deflections and is second in the competition for intercepts. 

But it could be the respective goal attacks who take on key roles in the Elimination Final with Tiana Metuarau (Pulse) and Amorangi Malesala showing flashes of their playmaking abilities in recent weeks - the latter a stand out against the Mystics in the final round.