Visit the ANZ Premiership WebsiteReturn to Steel Home Page
  1. Home >
  2. News >
  3. Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel v Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse – Rd 12

Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel v Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse – Rd 12

July 1, 2024

A stickler for the basics, you can bet the late Robyn Broughton would have had a bit to say about tonight’s ANZ Premiership clash between the Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel and the Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse.

After a strong opening phase, brave pundits would tentatively bet on the Steel to be in the hunt to claim the inaugural Robyn Broughton Legacy Trophy in honour of the legendary coach. Unfortunately, the home side simply couldn’t match the Pulse’s tempo when play resumed and the visitors went on to unleash three dominant quarters to rack up a 65-38 win.

There were positives, particularly the return to action of defender Taneisha Fifita who was a disruptive menace, but ultimately the Steel scoring from just over half of its own centre passes did irreparable damage.

In comparison, the Pulse earned 18 gains – a staggering 15 of them courtesy of captain Kelly Jackson at goal keep – and converted 14 into valuable goals.

Steel captain Kate Heffernan admitted the long arms of Jackson were a hurdle to contend with when feeding.

“It’s one of those things where you don’t want to pass it around too much because it gives them more opportunity but you’ve got to be so patient and so accurate. It’s a little bit of placement and a little bit of holding until we release it but we just couldn’t quite add the final touches in and gave her way too much ball,” she said.

“It just felt like it was kind of hard for us to score and they scored really, really fast. Credit to them because they played well all through the court, especially after we did put the pressure on in that first quarter, they came out hard in the second and we just didn’t adjust. It’s disappointing.”

While the Steel had been ruled out of contention for the Finals Series, the team was not lacking motivation.

“We really just want to improve each game. We want to be able to convert the ball we get and at the moment we’re just not doing that. We’re either scoring our centre pass but not our turnovers or vice versa. We just need to have an all-round game which we are just struggling to find due to little disconnects,” Heffernan said.

“We definitely want to improve but get that connection all through the court because it just comes and goes.”

She reserved praise for Fifita.

“It was great to see her start so well. She really did get into the heads of the shooters and that’s her job so it was really cool to see. We did miss her when she was gone and so it was cool to see her have that impact straight off,”

Jackson was proud to see her team return to the top rung of the premiership ladder, leaping over the Trident Homes Tactix with the win.

“It’s going to be a great contest these next three games and it’s going to be crucial to see who gets that home grand final. We’re really gunning for that,” she said.

“Defensively Steel started really well and they made the space look open and we were just guilty of giving it when it wasn’t actually on so I’m glad we tidied that up.

“It probably wasn’t as clinical as we would have hoped but great to put those numbers on the scoreboard.”

As for her own stellar performance?

“That’s my job to get ball … pretty sure it’s written on my bib. I’m glad I could do my job for my team.”

The Pulse weren’t always dominant in the match with bottom-placed Steel. There was little between the two sides in a low-scoring first quarter, when the Pulse fell into a Steel trap of trying to force the ball into their shooters.

Although it was dogged Pulse wing defence Fa’amu Ioane’s 100th national league match, it was Jackson who stole the limelight. After a successful night hunting, she ended up with 15 gains including six intercepts.

At the start of the match, errors working the ball into their circle were ironed out quickly by the Steel, and Fifita got her hands to lobbed ball destined for Pulse goal shoot Martina Salmon early in the quarter – helping the home side grab a two-goal lead.

But Jackson got into her groove, picking up two intercepts, three deflections and seven gains, to put the Pulse ahead – albeit only by one, 11-10, at the first break.

Both sides continued to be guilty of poor connections on attack, and inaccurate shooting once they got near the hoop, allowing the defenders to have a field day.

The Pulse brought goal attack Tiana Metuarau into their shooting circle at the same time the Steel turned to Summer Temu at goal shoot.

The move initially benefitted the Pulse as they eased out to a double-figure advantage (where the Steel had only scored one goal in eight minutes).

Although Temu and Georgia Heffernan started to click in the Steel circle, well fed by the bullet-style passing of new signing Charlotte Lourey, the Pulse went into the halftime break 25-17 ahead.

While the combination of Claire Kersten and Whitney Souness controlled the Pulse attack, the duo of Parris Mason and Jackson were again dominant in defence. Mason left the court to have an ankle injury strapped after a mid-quarter trip, but was back causing havoc for the Steel shooters in a flash.

The Pulse grew in confidence as the Steel struggled and won the quarter 19-10.

Down 44-27, the Steel had moments of clarity in the final quarter, with Heffernan putting away some clean long shots to end with 20 from 34 (87 percent).

Salmon, who copped an accidental elbow to the nose, improved with accuracy as the game went on to finish with 53 from 62 (85 percent).

Official Result and Stats:

Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel: 38
Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse: 65

Shooting Stats - Steel:
Grace Namana 11/16 (69%)
Georgia Heffernan 20/24 (83%)
Summer Temu 7/7 (100%)

Shooting Stats - Pulse:
Martina Salmon 53/62 (85%)
Kiana Pelasio 3/5 (60%)
Tiana Metuarau 9/12 (75%)

ANZ Fans' Player of the Match: Claire Kersten (Pulse)


Christchurch Website Design