The Pulse game last night had it all; determination, deft passing (usually) and an unstoppable determination to score their first victory of the season (Pulse 55; Swifts 49). A fiercely vocal contingent of Pulse supporters egged them on every step of the way.
The supporters celebrated when turnovers occurred, they relished every goal and they roared and rhythmically clapped when a fierce Pulse defence in latter stages impeded passage to the goal as the seconds spun out. A smiling neighbour remarked in the tumult "Poor Swifts".
Wing attack Liana Leota was everywhere, superbly aerial and feisty. She was a game-maker; a person who re-initiated when things were bogged down; an infusion of unstoppable energy. When a defender stood over her she leaped to pass, as she soared again to successfully retrieve unlikely looking ball. This morning's photo of Leota in full flight in the Dom Post symbolises her and the game. The Swifts connected effectively until the last quarter, when ball to their shooters became very restricted. The Pulse hung on, defended the space, delayed and made goal scoring extremely difficult for the embattled Swifts. Susan Pratley and Carla Dziwoki (87% and 88%) are accurate and talented, but ball to them was severely impeded. Swifts centre courters including Kim Green and Mo'onia Gerrard are formidable foes, but the Pulse held and delayed with skill and resilience. It was like a superbly choreographed modern dance of blocks, twists and turns.
The Pulse showed determination and precision, mixed with composure. When composure diminished, errors crept in on both sides, affecting all players however talented. Perhaps this was a measure of the frenetic pace of the game. These little errors though in a closer game could have been match undoers.
Caitlin Thwaites for the Pulse was incredibly impressive scoring 30 from 32. Donna Wilkins fed ball capably to Thwaites, and scored 25 goals from 27 attempts. Goal defender Te Huinga Selby-Rickit competently defended and intercepted, while Victoria Smith was a capable wing defender. Camilla Lees managed some very tricky threading in to the shooters demonstrating patience and flair, despite spirited defence from April Letton and Sonia Mkoloma.
Captain Katrina Grant, who despite knee bandaging continued to battle strongly as goal keep, and coach Robyn Broughton, should be very happy with their team. The Pulse supporters certainly were. Well done! Knew you could do it!