2021 ANZ Premiership: Season Review – Central Pulse

NOW that the ANZ Premiership season is done and dusted Draft Central casts an eye over each team and how they fared throughout their 2021 campaign. The next team under the microscope is Central Pulse, who somewhat suffered a fall from grace finishing in fifth spot on the ladder.

Season overview:

Missing a couple of key cogs the Central Pulse were always going to be in for a tough slog this season and that was well and truly evident winning just four games for the season. Ameliaranne Ekenasio was ruled out of the season nice and earlym while Karin Burger joined the Tactix at the end of last year and Katrina Rore was sidelined with pregnancy meaning it was up to the youngsters to pave the way. At their best the Pulse proved they had the capacity to knock off the best in the business collecting wins against the Stars, but just could not replicate that output on a weekly basis.


“I don’t want to be the bossy one, bossing them around the court, I just want to help guide them. I think young players always have their own type of flair that they bring and you’ve got to nurture that, and let them really express themselves,” Jury said.

The sole defensive cog remaining from 2019, Kelly Jury had a wealth of responsibility placed upon her shoulders heading into this season and in a chat prior to Round 1 she highlighted the cool, calm and collected method she wanted to approach down back to ensure the youngster were able to find their feet with ease.

Shining light:

Shifting into the wing defence role in season 2021, Maddy Gordon had her work cut out for her. Renowned for her attacking nous, speed and vision into the circle Gordon had to reinvent the wheel this season using all of those attributes but in a defensive manner to win ball back for her side. She was a real barometer for the Pulse with her give and go in transition allowing her Pulse teammates to create space in attack. The fast-footed midcourter also showcased her versatility spending time in centre and wing attack to have an impact albeit limited minutes.

Team breakdown:

With a new coach at the helm it was a very different looking Pulse outfit and although they showed glimpses of greatness they simply lacked that level of composure and class that brough them back-to-back premierships. The defensive structure of the Pulse had a huge overhaul with Jury forced to play out of position in goal defence while Fijian Kelera Nawai slotted into goal keeper. It took a while for the combination to get up and running with Jury not overly accustomed to the role while both Parris Mason and Paris Lokotui racked up some valuable court time under the guidance of Jury. It is fair to say that as the season dragged on the pair grew with confidence as their tenacity and read of the play increased at a rate of knots.

There is no denying that the attack end lacked the playmaking presence of Ekenasio and while Te Amo Amaru-Tibble was a strong option the Pulse frontend was slightly disjointed. Aliyah Dunn had a quiet season by her lofty standards but still impressed with her accuracy under the post. Claire Kersten was a pillar of consistency through the centre third for the Pulse with her defensive mindset allowing her to win ball back. In her return season, Whitney Souness took no time at all to find her groove with the speedster working her craft both outside the goal circle and occasionally inside it to shake things up for the Pulse. The main issue for the Pulse was their lack of shooting depth with the side unable to post high totals.

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