There should be no excuses come March 3.
Past Central Pulse teams have expressed shock and amazement at the tactics and toughness of the first Australian team they confront each season.
But that won't wash when the Adelaide Thunderbirds turn up at Te Rauparaha Arena in a fortnight.
The point of the weekend's "Summer Shootout" for the Pulse was exposure to Aussie opposition.
They got plenty of that in accumulating an impressive five-win, two-loss record in Melbourne.
The defeats came at the hands of the Melbourne Vixens and New South Wales Swifts, while there were victories over the Thunderbirds, West Coast Fever and Queensland Firebirds, plus New Zealand rivals the Northern Mystics and Southern Steel.
All of which means the Pulse ought to be fully prepared when their season starts for real.
"Well, we've got a much better idea, but I have to say it's been quite different for me to sit and watch two Australian teams play against each other. It's physically different, and in all aspects of the game, to watching two New Zealand teams play," Pulse coach Robyn Broughton from the State Netball and Hockey Centre in Melbourne.
"You do need to have an understanding of the physically hard nature of the [Australian] game and the man-on-man play that goes on incessantly. But they need to take a look at what we do too.
"We pick up an awful lot of ball from hunting intercepts and Katrina [Grant] got some great ones and so did Hu [Te Huinga Reo Selby-Rickit]. Because they're not running with their partner they can play quite elusively and the opposition don't know when they're going to come out [and attack the ball]."
Broughton mixed and matched her lineup over the three days and wasn't overly bothered about the results.
"We had some great moments and did some really good combination work. Our Ds [Grant and Selby-Rickit] have been outstanding and they picked up a lot of ball and Ama [Agbeze] fitted into the goal circle area well as well," she said.
Midcourter Elias Shadrock impressed Broughton again, as did Clare Kirsten and Gemma Hazeldine, with the latter getting court time at wing attack and goal attack.
"Our defensive work is good, we just need to link properly through the midcourt and into our attackers and then put our foot down and take the mistakes out of our game. Once you have a lead, you need to keep a lead."
- The Dominion Post
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