Southern Steel complete unbeaten regular netball season with comfortable win over Central Pulse
The Southern Steel have completed the perfect regular netball season with their 15th win on the trot.
The Steel recorded a comfortable 64-51 win over the Central Pulse at ILT Stadium Southland on Monday night to finish the regular season unbeaten for the second season in a row.
The influence of returning pair Shannon Francois and Jhaniele Fowler-Reid to the Southern Steel cause cannot be underestimated either.
In their first games back from injury after a van accident the pair were key players as the Steel started eased out to a first quarter lead, which they never gave up.
Both players were subbed off early, with Fowler-Reid scoring 51/53, while Francois finished with 30 circle feeds and 16 goal attacks.
Both teams started the game nervously with several early turnovers.
The Steel took an early break and extended their lead to 6-1 after five minutes.
They utilised the high ball into 1.98m Jamaican international shooter and the tight defence of Jane Watson, Te Huinga Selby-Rickit and Abby Erwood to put pressure on the Pulse.
The home team stretched their lead to seven goals in the first quarter at one stage, before some nice late shooting from Pulse shooters Cathrine Tuivaiti and Tiana Metuarau closed the gap to 17-13 at first quarter time.
First quarter Pulse goal keep Phoenix Karaka was moved to goal defence, as she switched with Katrina Grant in an attempt to combat the dominant Fowler-Reid.
Steel goal attack Jamie Hume started the second quarter off well some nice long range shots, while the Pulse secured some well worked set play goals to stay in touch.
Fowler-Reid continued to be a dominant figure in the game, as the Steel stretched their lead to 31-21 towards the end of the second quarter.
The Pulse gained some late turnovers, but were only able to reduce the deficit to nine goals, with the Steel holding the halftime lead 34-25.
Fowler-Reid finished the first half with 100 per cent shooting, 29/29.
Both teams introduced development players as the Steel stretched their lead to 10 goals, 45-35 after 11 minutes in the third quarter.
The Steel led 49-40 after the third quarter was drawn 15-15.
It took until the end of the third quarter before Fowler-Reid missed her first shot of the evening.
The Steel stretched their lead to 58-43 midway through the final quarter as both sides continued to substitute their players ahead of the finals.
They ended up winning by 64-51, with Gina Crampton playing her 50th game, while they also raised 1000 points for the season.
At a glance
Southern Steel 64 (Jhaniele Fowler-Reid 51/53, Jamie Hume 6/8, Olivia Bates 4/4, Jennifer O'Connell 3/6) beat Central Pulse 51 (Cathrine Tuivaiti 28/29, Tiana Metuarau 12/15, Te Amo Amaru-Tibble 11/12).
Q1: 17-13, HT: 34-25, Q3: 49-40.