The Southern Steel made a resounding comeback in the ANZ Premiership becoming the second franchise to defeat the Central Pulse.

The Steel's victory was a stark contrast of when the sides last met in round four where the Pulse took down the defending champions by a staggering 31 goals – the biggest winning margin in the Premiership's history.

But finally delivering the spark and energy that captain Wendy Frew called for, the Steel avenged the devastating loss with a 51-47 victory at Invercargill's ILT Stadium Southland.

In a sluggish and fragmented opening quarter, both sides took to the court with an unusually hesitant rhythm.


The lack of momentum saw goal-for-goal play spark a battle for the upper hand, but it was the Steel that managed to pull off a slim one-goal buffer.

Leading her defence force from the front, Frew snatched valuable ball from their Wellington-based opposition. But Steel shooters Te Paea Selby-Rickit and Jen O'Connell struggled to convert under the pressure of the formidable Katrina Grant and Sulu Fitzpatrick.

The Pulse defending duo have become a force to be reckoned with this season and with a strong midcourt to support their efforts, the Pulse made the most of every turn-over.

Courtney Elliott was in fine form, suppressing the Pulse's outstanding shooters for the first time this season. Photo / Getty
Courtney Elliott was in fine form, suppressing the Pulse's outstanding shooters for the first time this season. Photo / Getty

Pulse shooter Aliyah Dunn, who has become a rising star in the national league, displayed a strong connection with her shooting counterpart Tiana Metuarau.

Under the pressure of Steel defender Courtney Elliott, the young shooting duo confidently spread the workload, with Metuarau sinking valuable long-range goals.

Despite a strong comeback that saw the Pulse decisively lead most of the second quarter, the Wellington-side couldn't hold onto their advantage as the Steel stormed ahead once again.

In an attempt to switch-up the shooting circle, Pulse coach Yvette McCausland-Durie called Ameliaranne Ekenasio onto the court in goal attack. Sinking seven of eight goals in the third quarter the Silver Ferns shooter made sure to keep her side in close contest with their Southern opponents.

But playing with passion and patience, the Steel advanced ahead to snatch another quarter from the Pulse and take an even wider four-point lead.

Steel midcourter Gina Crampton continued to lead her side for circle feeds in the final stanza as the Silver Fern found effortless connection with her shooters. And with an improved shooting percentage from the Steel, the Pulse needed an all-or-nothing performance in the final minutes of the top-of-the-table clash.

The Pulse fought hard, but nothing the Wellington-side could do was enough to stop the Southern champions from delivering an inspiring victory to a passionate and proud home crowd.

The Steel reclaimed second place on the ANZ Premiership ladder with sixteen points, while the Pulse remains in the lead with eighteen.

The bottom-of-the-table Northern Stars will face the Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic on Wednesday night in front of a home crowd at Takanini's Pulman Arena.

With just one win from nine games so far this season, the Stars will be desperate for a victory over the fourth-placed Magic.