13/04/2024
New kids on the block finally settling in, Northern Stars take out the first round beating the Central Pulse 57-53.

New kids on the block finally settling in, Northern Stars take out the first round beating the Central Pulse 57-53.

It’s all in the preparation, Northern Stars looked stronger than ever as they beat Central Pulse for the first time in the ANZ Premiership.

With the return of a loud and proud Palmy crowd and as back-to-back premiers it was set to be the perfect homecoming for the Central Pulse, only to be spoiled by the Northern Stars from the first whistle.

Within 90 seconds of the first whistle, the Northern Stars were up by two, with their centre pass. It was a game that brought much attention to “the new kids on the block” as they completely derailed the Premiers who looked underprepared and disconnected.

By the end of the first half Pulse were sitting on 18 unforced errors to Stars’ 9, the pressure was on but without Ameliaranne Ekanasio or Katrina Rore, the Pulse never succeeded.

Despite the poor performance from her team, Maddy Gordon recent debut of the Silver Ferns had a stand out match in WD against Gina Crampton. It was refreshing to see clean physical netball from a rising star. Throughout the game, Gordon kept up with Crampton something very few WD are able to do and continued to pick every loose ball up in the centre third.  

Harrison out to prove a point.

It was the first time in five season that the Northern Stars had beaten reigning premiers on their home turf and it had much to do with player of the match, Anna Harrison, who was out to prove age is but a number.

The retired Silver Fern looked like she had never even left the court as she continued to fly high through the air and put shooting duo Aaliyah Dunn and Te Amo Amaru Tibble under pressure for sixty minutes.

“I was glad just to get through the warm up and play with these girls …it’s been nice to play with a team again,” Harrison said in her post match interview.  

To follow up commentator Rikki Swannell voiced everyone’s thoughts and jestingly called Harrison’s start in GD as “interesting”.

Harrison responded laughing, “It was to see if I could disrupt stuff out the front I think, but it was nice to fall back to GK especially for the lungs with the cold this week.”

Anna Harrison contesting the ball against Whitney Souness
Photo: William Booth

Wilson accurate but in hot water.

Harrison’s four gains, two intercepts and a rebound were supported in style as rising Silver Fern shooter and captain of the Northern Stars, Maia Wilson who shot at 44 from 50 attempts (88%).

However, it was her unwelcoming stature to 18 year old debut Paris Mason that caught everyone’s attention except the umpires. As Mason faced up to Wilson, Wilson pushed her away by slapping in her in the face to receive the ball.

Upon review, commentators discussed whether New Zealand Netball needed a judiciary to review such ill intentions similar to the Rugby League but collectively decided against it.

Northern Stars, Maia Wilson and Netball New Zealand are yet to comment on the matter.

Particularly in her post-match interview as captain, Wilson avoids the subject and corroborates Harrison’s efforts, “We’re happy with a win but maybe we were not as clinical in shooting as we could have been but our defence got us some really clean ball.”

“Not only does she have that physical presence (on court), but you can start to see that invisible thread through the defensive end and it starts with her,” Wilson says.

“The leadership she brings with those girls is making them shine.” Wilson concludes.

With the stage now set, Northern Stars fans have a lot to look forward to this season.

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