The Central Pulse clinched the ANZ Netball minor premiership last night with a win over 68-42 win over the Northern Stars, and attention now turns to where and when exactly they will host the final.
All three of the Pulse’s home courts – TSB Stadium in Wellington, Te Rauparaha Arena in Porirua and Fly Palmy Arena in Palmerston North – are unavailable for the match, scheduled for June 2. TSB is hosting the World of Wearable Arts, Te Raupahara a ballroom dancing event, and a Lego convention will be taking place in Palmerston North.
It comes a year after the Pulse were forced to move their home final from Wellington to Palmerston North, which they lost after winning the minor premiership.
It is highly likely that the outcome will be a change of date for the final, with Te Rauparaha Arena available on the Monday.
While that’s for the higher-ups to sort out, the team itself shot out a warning that wherever it is played, they will be tough to beat. The Pulse dominated every quarter in their win over the Stars in Wellington, with shooters Aliyah Dunn and Ameliaranne Ekanasio getting quality ball throughout. Defenders Katrina Rore and Sulu Fitzpatrick made life difficult from the outset for Stars shooters Maia Wilson and Charlee Hodges, with Wilson absorbing most of the pressure.
After leading 33-23 at halftime, the Pulse kept the 10-goal buffer until pulling away to eventual 16-goal winning margin.
The Stars clearly missed the impact of midcourter Leana Du Bruin, who sat out the match with injury. They will be hoping it comes right soon, as the Stars now head south to Invercargill to play the Steel in their final regular season game next week – then again in the elimination final the week after. There is a chance that the Stars may end up back in the final against the Pulse, but it will take a major improvement on court if that is to take place.