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Shaken Pulse zero in on Magic win

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 2/06/2017

Stung by back-to-back losses, the Pulse desperately need a win against the Magic in Sunday's national netball premiership match to remain in play-offs contention.

Fourth on the table, the Pulse have been hit hard in the last 10 days by losses to the competition-leading Southern Steel (80-44) and the Northern Mystics (64-53).

Yet they still sit only two points behind the second-placed Magic, and have every chance of making the crucial top three with four games remaining until the play-offs.

Coach Yvette McCausland-Durie has her team working extra hard to rediscover their early-season form.

"There's been a massive focus on this next game - we've increased our trainings for the week," he said.

"We've proven that we can play together and lately we've just lost that connection on court."

Now into the stage of the season where teams are meeting each other for a third time, some sides have lifted while the Pulse have not.

Ball retention has improved but turnover gains, a previous area of strength, have dropped off.

The Pulse have already suffered two losses to the Magic this season, the first a 52-50 defeat and the second an even narrower 50-49 loss.

"We've got to come out now with not necessarily lots of new stuff but a lot more conviction," said McCausland-Durie.

"It's been a strength of ours that we stay quite calm and composed but we actually need to get a bit agitated and aggressive in our play now.

"On defence we've got to attack ball and go out and get it and not just wait for opportunities."

The Pulse's ability to successfully hunt the ball will go a long way to helping disrupt and break down the Magic's accomplished midcourt connection with their shooters.

Restricting the supply of ball into high-scoring Lenize Potgieter will be key: the South African international is shooting at 92 per cent accuracy, a figure matched only by Steel sharpshooter Jhaniele Fowler-Reid.

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