Despite their lowly positions, the ANZ Championship netball match-up between the Central Pulse and Adelaide Thunderbirds in Porirua on Sunday holds plenty of significance for each of the combatants.
The pair sit at the foot of their respective conferences on the back of largely disappointing seasons, the trans-Tasman component adding extra sting to an intriguing clash.
The winless visitors have had an unhappy campaign, blighted by a lengthy injury list and a recent change of coach while the Pulse have garnered a win, a draw and some close losses, inconsistency being the major bugbear.
Well out of play-offs contention, the Thunderbirds would be happy to just to register their first points of the season but it’s a completely different story for the Pulse.
The tightly-packed New Zealand conference has left the door ajar, and while it’s a tall order, the home team haven’t given up on their chance of pushing for a place in the top three.
``We’ve still got a chance, our fate is in our hands so we’ll be going out hard in these last four games,’’ seasoned Pulse midcourter Elias Scheres said.
``The Thunderbirds are searching for their first win which is threatening in itself. They’ve had some changes in their camp which could go either way for them, so it’s a bit of an unknown. I think it’s going to be a cracker of a game and I’m looking forward to it.’’
In her third season with the Pulse after previously playing for Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic, the understated Scheres has been the reliable rock in the midcourt for the home team. Often switching between centre and wing defence, her thoughts on what is required for a positive outcome on Sunday are simple.
``We just need to stick to our game plan and our structures…… when we do that it works,’’ she said. ``In our previous games, our turnover rates have been quite high, so we need to ensure those are low and defensively, making sure we get in the game early.’’
In some instances, the bye round has proved a curse but Scheres, 25, believes last weekend’s break came at the right time for the Pulse and they have returned to camp rejuvenated for the run to the end of the season.
``We all get along so well off and on the court and are quite a tightknit group which is awesome,’’ she said. ``It is great in a team, especially when you’re not winning, to still have that connection and that family-sisterhood type environment.
``The girls have had a chance to get away to see their family and friends and we’ve come back and regrouped. There’s a nice bubbly, refreshed feeling and everyone’s ready to work hard for these last four games.’’
Mindful there is always room for improvement, Scheres is satisfied with how her own game is tracking, enjoyment and just playing without over-thinking being the key factors, a team first mentality being the over-riding factor.
``It doesn’t bother me at all being rotated in different positions,’’ she said. ``For me, it’s whatever’s best for the team. If that’s me at wing defence or me at centre or even me on the sideline, it’s all about the team. I’m just happy to be amongst it all and getting the opportunities that have come my way.’’
Photo Credit: Andy Radka – Above Ground Level Photography
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