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Magic upset Pulse to shake up Premiership

Updated: May 26

The Waikato-BOP Magic produced their most complete performance of the season to upset leaders the Central Pulse 58-41 in Tauranga on Saturday.

Delivering the third win of their campaign helped the Magic close the gap on the front-runners in a season-defining match while rising to the occasion after showing threatening form in previous weeks.


For the first time, the Magic produced a 60-minute performance, leading through all four quarters while leaving a disjointed Pulse unable to respond. And for the first time, the Pulse showed a vulnerability.

Unbeaten going into the match, but missing several frontline players, the Pulse’s injury woes were all too evident against a rampant Magic, who dominated across all thirds of the court.

The Magic welcomed captain Ameliaranne Ekenasio back to the playing line-up after missing last week with illness, and her influence was all-too evident.

There were further reshuffles for an injury depleted Pulse with Fa’amu Ioane moving into centre and Australian import Kelea Iongi getting her first start for the season, at wing defence. Impressive in her debut last week, shooter Martina Salmon retained her place at goal shoot.

The Magic have upset leaders the Pulse in the ANZ Premiership
Some big defence from the Magic helped them upset leaders the Pulse PHOTO: NETBALL NZ/MICHAEK BRADLEY PHOTOGRAPHY

Recovering from an early three-goal deficit, Magic were all business in making the most of a Pulse team struggling to find their rhythm, the home side breaking free with an impressive opening.

Ekenasio was back to her brilliant best to conduct the effort on attack while building momentum with her athletic shooting partner Saviour Tui. At the other end, the defensive efforts of Georgia Takarangi and Erena Mikaere made life difficult for the Pulse shooters as they smothered while picking off a run of intercepts.

Staring down a seven-goal deficit, the Pulse pulled a couple back before the Magic headed into the first break with a 16-11 lead.

Taking time to settle into their changes, the Pulse competed almost on level terms during the stanza, clawing back to within three at one stage but the Magic held their ground. The movement and timing between Ekenasio and Tui continued to be a feature while wing attack Claire O’Brien was also an impressive contributor.

Pulse shooters Martina Salmon and Kiana Pelasio had more success in finding their groove under the hoop while Whitney Souness was a bundle of energy on attack.

But with their noses in front, the Magic showed their growing impetus with their on-song shooting and the defensive end chiming in to keep the previously undefeated Pulse searching for answers.

Denying the Pulse any traction, it was the Magic who stretched their advantage marginally to a 30-24 lead at the main break.

The Magic continued to force the issue with a dominant showing through the third stanza, the Pulse forced into multiple turnovers in the face of a relentless onslaught.

The combined defensive efforts of Georgie Edgecombe, Takarangi and Mikaere was instrumental in denying the Pulse any attacking momentum. At the other end, Ekenasio and Tui did their bit with a flurry of goals in extending the home side’s lead.

Eight unanswered goals put the Magic in the box seat as they put the polish on a decisive third quarter where they restricted the Pulse to just five goals. Shuffling their shooting personnel did little to improve the Pulse’s fortunes with a 42-29 deficit at three-quarter time.

In the run home, the Magic had the luxury of getting all 10 of their players on court while heralding a huge confidence-boosting win.


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