Daniel Richardson

Daniel Richardson is a Wellington-based sports journalist for NZME. News Service.

Netball: Win gives Pulse a shot in the arm

Katrina Grant was in dominant form.
Katrina Grant was in dominant form.

Katrina Grant knows it is coming twice a year.

It's the toughest job in netball at the moment and the Central Pulse goal keep knows, when she steps on to the court to defend against Southern Steel shooter Jhaniele Fowler-Reid, she will lose more ball than she will win.

Fowler-Reid stands 1.98m tall and grabs passes from seemingly anywhere in the shooting circle, but the 1.86m Grant and her Pulse side were able to slow the Jamaican international enough to deliver a 67-56 win over the Steel at the TSB Bank Arena in Wellington yesterday.

Grant didn't drop her chin as she watched pass after pass elude her grasp as Fowler-Reid gobbled up the ball and deposited it through the net. But what the Pulse did do well was limit the Steel's ability to deliver accurate service to the ANZ Championship's reigning MVP.

"You just can't get despondent if the ball goes over your head five times in a row," Grant said after the game.

The Silver Fern's toil paid off though as she did pinch a couple of balls that were heading towards Fowler-Reid and one intercept in the fourth quarter defined the dominance of the Pulse performance.

After dropping their first game 45-44 to the Adelaide Thunderbirds on Monday, the Pulse had to get past the Steel yesterday to give themselves a hit of confidence.

"I'm hoping this proves that we are a good side and we will beat other quality sides with a decent scoreline," Grant said.

The clinical aspect of the Pulse's victory came in their ability to repel a late charge by the Steel, who got within four during the final quarter but when the Pulse felt them coming, they clicked in to another gear.

There are still concerns around their ageing shooting circle of Donna Wilkins and Irene van Dyk who are yet to forge flawless links with their mid-court friends.

But the pair missed only three shots between them yesterday and, given they have played at elite level since the 1990s, there is a strong feeling they will find a way to make it work as the season rolls on.

Pulse 67 (I. van Dyk 39/41, D. Wilkins 28/29) Steel 56 (J. Fowler-Reid 41/44, J. Brown 15/19). 1Q: 18-14, halftime 34-26, 3Q: 50-41. APNZ

- Herald on Sunday

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