Broughton keeps calm after loss to Tactix

JONATHAN MILLMOW
Last updated 05:00 25/03/2014
Robyn Broughton
MAARTEN HOLL/Fairfax NZ
PULSE COACH: Robyn Broughton.

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Everyone speaks fondly of Robyn Broughton.

Netball's old girl was brought to Wellington in 2012 to bring respectability to a basket case of a franchise.

Year by year she has improved the Central Pulse, a combination of quality coaching and a chequebook.

When Irene van Dyk was signed in the off-season the last piece of the jigsaw puzzle was complete.

"Go and win the league girls" might be stretching it but there was undoubtedly a feeling of "give it a good shake."

We all bought season tickets and thundersticks, you name it.

We took an interest in their pre-season form and noted their TAB odds to win the trans-Tasman competition.

On Sunday night in Napier the Pulse's world came crumbling down.

The two goal loss to the Canterbury Tactix makes the road to the playoffs difficult and any dream of winning the competition too far fetched to consider.

Broughton spoke yesterday. She took the defeat on the chin. She was calm and direct. It seems her team is not what it is cracked up to be, not that she would admit that.

Broughton was given the opportunity to throw one of five Silver Ferns under the bus but did not take up the offer.

She has two conclusions from that horror performance.

Firstly her experienced lineup suffers a mental block when they get their nose in front in a game. And secondly good players made basic errors on the night.

"The loss shocked me because the attitude and the training last week was very good," Broughton said.

"I don't know what went wrong up there [in Napier] apart from it being mental. We get these leads and we squander them.

"I've been looking at the analysis and from our most experienced down to our youngest player they are making silly, basic, mostly passing and placement errors.

"You have to take self responsibility for what is going on out there. As a coach I have to take responsibility for trying to find what it is. It is disappointing."

The Pulse have three top tier Silver Ferns in Irene van Dyk, Katrina Grant and Joline Henry.

Broughton was asked to assess them.

"Irene, she is struggling at the back," Broughton said.

"They [Tactix] were really double marking, making sure she couldn't move. To be fair to Tactix they played with desperation.

"In training Irene has been performing well. She has more experience than anyone else and we need her to use her experience so her and Donna [Wilkins] can make sure their circle communication is consistent."

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Broughton on Grant:

"Katrina is her own harshest critic and she was disappointed she didn't get as much ball as she normally does.

"She is aware of it. I changed to Hu [Te Huinga Reo Selby-Rickit] because I thought I would try Ama [Agbeze] at the back."

Henry got a pass mark.

"Joline has done a good job. I use her at centre which isn't her favourite position in the Ferns and she plays a good game there. She was guilty of some throwaways."

Broughton won't be drawn into discussing fading title hopes after just four rounds but the loss could prove decisive come the business end of the competition.

Last year the Pulse had an eight-win five-loss record and missed the playoffs. They need to win in Australia, something they have never done.

"If you dig a hole, you have to get out of it," Broughton said.

"What I do think is that we should be capable of a playoff situation. We lost by one to Adelaide, two to the Tactix, they aren't huge losses but they are silly losses.

"We shouldn't panic. There will be other topsy turvy results. It is that sort of competition. No team has stood out yet. It will be interesting to see where it all ends."

The Pulse's next game is against the Swifts in Sydney on Monday night.

- Wellington

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