Pulse get a dose of Fever in Western Australia
There were no late heroics.
Given an opportunity to create a bit of history and finish their trans-Tasman Netball League campaign on a positive note, the Central Pulse couldn't manage it.
The problems that have plagued them all season persisted in their final game, with an inability to get the ball to the circle and convert it into goals again an issue in their 51-44 loss to the West Coast Fever in Perth tonight.
Through two thirds of the court, the Pulse have been good. It all falls down in the attack end, though, as shooters Irene van Dyk and Donna Wilkins battle to get into positions where their feeders can find them.
On other occasions space is secured, but the communication's astray and the ball sails out of bounds.
Things began promisingly as the Pulse established a two-goal lead. But that was as good as it got.
From 14-11 down at quarter time, the Pulse treaded water in the second 15 minutes, adding just seven goals to their tally. Van Dyk went to the long break with shooting stats of six from seven.
At the other end, Fever goal shoot Caitlin Bassett had 22 from 25. That's the sort of volume you'd expect from an international goal shoot and van Dyk was replaced at halftime by Paula Griffin.
Her ability to create space is better than van Dyk's, but her shot a lot more shaky. Griffin went into goal attack, with Wilkins assuming the goal shoot's bib.
The move was a gamble by coach Robyn Broughton, but one that probably had to be made in the circumstances.
The Pulse have attacking players of some ability. Just, seemingly, not in the class of Bassett, goal attack Natalie Medhurst and wing attack Chelsea Pitman.
The trio were under strenuous pressure from Joline Henry, Ama Agbeze and Katrina Grant and yet stood up to it in a way that would've made Broughton wish her front end could play that authoritatively.
Centre Millie Lees had already been dragged by the coach, meaning the Pulse had more current Silver Ferns sitting watching than actually out on court. Not that it seemed to matter who was on, as the Fever began the final quarter with a commanding 42-30 advantage.
The Pulse's defenders deserved better, but weren't going to get it. Instead Fever coach Norma Plummer got a fitting send-off having, yet again, got one over a Kiwi team for the umpteenth time in her storied career.
For one or two Pulse players, the result would've reinforced their decision to make other plans for next year. This was a season that promised much for the team, but ended up delivering less than 2013 had.
The Dominion Post