Fisher’s shooting key as Steel gets better of Pulse

George Fisher, of the Southern Steel, shoots during the round three ANZ Premiership match against...
George Fisher, of the Southern Steel, shoots during the round three ANZ Premiership match against the Central Pulse in Invercargill last night. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES
The start was good.

The finish was controlled.

That third quarter would have raised the nerves of Southern Steel fans, though.

The side emerged a 56-52 winner over the Central Pulse in Invercargill yesterday.

It looked in control at halftime as it shot out to a 29-22 lead.

But the Pulse, which was still without Ameliaranne Ekenasio and which lost Maddy Gordon to injury, hit back.

A change in the Steel midcourt was notable as Ali Wilshier came on at wing attack and Shannon Saunders slotted back to centre.

Perhaps it would be harsh to blame it purely on that.

But with Kate Heffernan sitting out the quarter, the Pulse hauled in the deficit and briefly took the lead.

The attack that had looked so assured in the first half became disjointed.

Its defence struggled to counter a rampant Pulse attack.

But the Steel regained control in the fourth quarter.

Heffernan returned, Saunders moved back to wing attack and the shooters began getting ball again.

It remained tight early in the fourth quarter, but a run midway through gave the Steel breathing room.

George Fisher was key in that.

For the third week in a row the English goal shooter showed tremendous patience with defenders all over her.

She finished with 48 goals from her 52 attempts, taking her season total to 136/143.

Tiana Metuarau combined well with her, throwing some sublime passes and shooting eight from eight herself.

At the other end, Taneisha Fifita’s dominance was notable, particularly early as she picked off Pulse passes and allowed the Steel to take its early lead.

Her three intercepts sparked the Steel to an 11-4 lead.

Fisher provided a typically calm presence in the shooting circle, linking well with goal attack Metuarau.

However, the Pulse attack began to connect late in the quarter and it pulled back to 14-10.

It was a trend that continued through the second quarter and while the Pulse maintained the four-goal margin to begin with, the Steel pulled in front.

Again the Steel defence picked off a handful of passes.

And again Fisher’s patience while being smothered in the circle allowed her to calmly slot 13 of her 14 shots in the quarter.

It gave the Steel a 29-22 halftime lead, seemingly in control.

But the Pulse hit back.

The Steel’s midcourt changes proved key.

Its shooters continued their accuracy — they shot a combined 100% — but getting the ball to them proved an issue.

As the turnovers crept into its game, the Pulse attack lifted.

It tied the score at 35-35 when Aliyah Dunn hit an off-balance shot, before Te Amo Amaru-Tibble gave it the lead seconds later.

But the Steel finished the quarter strongly and took a 39-37 advantage to the final break.

From there the Pulse capitalised on a bad pass from Saunders to tie the score again.

The Steel was able to remain accurate through the rest of the game, though.

It went on a run midway through the quarter, converting its turnovers and opening a lead it calmly held.


Add a Comment

Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter