Central Pulse retrieved a 47-47 draw in the face of defeat in yesterday afternoon's thriller match with the New South Wales Swifts.
Five minutes from the last whistle, Pulse were still five goals down. In the last quarter captain and defender Katrina Grant gained valuable ball for her team but failed to capitalise. The first went straight back into opposition hands and the second intended for Te Huinga Selby Rickit went directly outside. The team need to own these actions as much as Grant because on occasions there were too few players presenting for passes and eyes were not on the ball. Maybe that is why Liz Ellis thinks there is a problem with New Zealand teams' fitness.
However Pulse retrieved ball from Swifts' errors in the five minutes remaining. Even another goal and outright victory was possible but in the end not achievable. However the fight to equalise showed courage and determination.
Player of the match was the Pulse's Ameliaranne Wells who was on 89% after three quarters of netball. Wells and the canny Jodi Brown made exceptional use of circle space. Tight marking by Swifts' goal keep Sharni Layton helped Pulse as penalties incurred by Layton meant shots were taken close to the post. Swifts' goal defence Julie Corletto played a sound game before leaving the match with calf problems. Wells' shooting became more inaccurate in the last quarter ending with a 79% accuracy rate as pressure from Layton and Corletto's replacement Micaela Wilson persisted, . However Wells' understanding with Brown and ability to pass vital ball to her in the face of defenders while the crowd held their breath, turned out to be sound logic. Brown - despite being pushed and shoved to extremes - had an overall accuracy of 84%.
Extreme physicality contributed to a total of 150 penalties for the game with the Pulse earning 60 of these. It was not that the game was over-whistled but rather that competency and ball skill was upheld.
At the other end of the court Susan Pettitt and former Pulse player Caitlin Thwaites conversion rates for the match were in the mid 80s. They shared the shooting load with Thwaites converting just three more shots.
The Swifts' centre court of captain Kim Green as wing attack (replaced in the last quarter by Stephanie Wood), Paige Hadley and Abbey McCulloch pressed the Pulse hard. McCulloch attempted to close the Pulse's Liana Leota out. Jolene Henry tried to do the same to Green and her replacement Wood. Henry's ability to intercept and/or deflect gained valuable ball and her eye for swift, accurate ball directly to the shooter was impressive.
Elias Shadrock continued to grow in her centre role passing crisply and placing herself well on the circle edge.
Te Huinga Selby Rickit as goal keep was impressive, calmly picking up ball and dispatching it efficiently.
All the Pulse need to do now to continue their progress would be defeating an Australian side. They came very close to it last night.