Pulse out to hunt down victory
The pressure is on for the Central Pulse to reach the trans-Tasman playoffs and a win in Palmerston North this weekend will do them a world of good.
The Pulse host the Northern Mystics at a soldout Arena Manawatu tomorrow night and with only three games left in the regular season, the Pulse need a win to stay in touch with the top four.
Pulse coach Robyn Broughton knows how tough it will be against the Mystics tomorrow, then they have away games against the Queensland Firebirds and West Coast Fever.
"They're all important, we'll just take it one game at a time," Broughton said.
"You can't tell with these results. It's probably been the most up-and-down competition.
"There's nothing you can take for granted. Everybody's well prepared and playing some good netball."
The Pulse are sitting in fifth spot with six wins and four losses, a win outside the top four, but they will need to win all three of their finals games to qualify.
Broughton said nothing is easy in this competition and the trip to Australia is a big call, especially with the fourth-placed Firebirds one spot ahead of the Pulse.
"All results are important to us, we have to play to our strengths. We're just sitting a little bit below the top four and we will be doing our best to get there and they'll be doing their very best."
The Mystics won this clash in Palmerston North 51-47 two years ago, but the Pulse are a lot stronger now and should perform in front of a 2704-strong crowd.
The Mystics are in eighth spot, but have a host of Silver Fern regulars such as Laura Langman, Maria Tutaia and Cat Latu.
Pulse defender Te Huinga Reo Selby-Rickit injured an ankle in the win against the Canterbury Tactix last week, but should be right for tomorrow, as will Joline Henry and Donna Wilkins.
Broughton believed they have the depth in their squad to cover any of them if they aren't fit, and it showed last week when Paula Griffin slotted in at shoot for the injured Wilkins and did the job.
Broughton was unlikely to keep the combination though, so if fully fit, Wilkins should expect to come back into the starting team.
Palmerston North's Liana Leota has been coming off the bench since she returned mid-season from England and Broughton said every half game for Leota was making a difference, but they couldn't throw her in fully just yet.
Central Pulse: Katrina Grant, Te Huinga Reo Selby-Rickit, Joline Henry, Camilla Lees, Elias Shadrock, Irene van Dyk, Donna Wilkins, Ama Agbeze, Katarina Cooper, Paula Griffin, Gemma Hazeldine, Claire Kersten, Liana Leota.
Northern Mystics: Maria Tutaia, Anna Harrison, Cat Latu, Kayla Cullen, Julie Corletto, Bailey Mes, Laura Langman, Erikana Pedersen, Jodi Tod-Elliott, Elisapeta Toeava, Nadia Loveday, Temalisi Fakahokotau.