A moun­tain too high for Pulse


Stop me if you feel like you’ve read this stuff be­fore.

The South­ern Steel have done their best Amer­i­can foot­ball im­pres­sion and hurled lots of ball in the di­rec­tion of goal shoot Jhaniele Fowler-Reid. She’s done the rest and now the Steel are na­tional net­ball pre­mier­ship cham­pi­ons, cour­tesy of their 69-53 grand fi­nal win over the Cen­tral Pulse in In­ver­cargill.

In wing de­fence Wendy Frew, goal de­fence Te Huinga Reo Sel­byRickit and goal keep Jane Wat­son, the Steel have some very good, very clever play­ers. But the start and end of it is those long balls to Fowler-Reid, which her feed­ers have the lux­ury of throw­ing with lit­tle fear of an in­ter­cept.

To have any hope of up­set­ting the un­beaten Steel, they had to be per­fect with the ball and weren’t. Frew and Selby-Rickit and Wat­son saw to that.

To the winner the spoils - and all that - but the un­char­i­ta­ble will al­ways say the Steel owe it all to their goal shoot.

Hav­ing had no joy against the Steel this year, in­clud­ing a whop­ping 80-44 de­feat a month ago, the Pulse re­solved to start fast in the grand fi­nal. They had a very early one-goal lead and par­ity for a time, but 4-4 soon be­came 6-4 and then 9-5, which was as good as game over.

The Pulse ral­lied to 10-8 but their abil­ity to get the ball from cen­tre pass to shot wasn’t good enough and they went to quar­ter­time down 18-10.

By half­time the Steel led 35-20. Be­tween them Pulse shoot­ers Cathrine Tuiv­aiti and Tiana Me­t­u­a­rau had shot a com­bined 20 from 24. Fowler-Reid had 26/28 all on her own.

The Pulse didn’t give up and ‘‘only’’ lost the third quar­ter 20-18 and won the fourth 15-14, but the game had be­come a vic­tory cel­e­bra­tion by then.

For the Pulse, sec­ond was bet­ter than sec­ond-last. That’s where many pre­dicted they would fin­ish this year, so get­ting this far was an achieve­ment in it­self.

This was their first ap­pear­ance in a play­off se­ries and the best is still to come from play­ers such as Claire Ker­sten, Whit­ney Souness and Me­t­u­a­rau.

South­ern Steel (Jhaniele FowlerReid 56/60, Te Paea Selby-Rickit 13/19) Cen­tral Pulse (Tiana Me­t­u­a­rau 27/30, Cathrine Tuiv­aiti 26/29)

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