ANZ Premiership 2020: Central Pulse, Northern Mystics open season with victories

Karin Burger in action for the Central Pulse.
Karin Burger in action for the Central Pulse. Photo credit: Photosport

Central Pulse have kicked off their ANZ Premiership title defence with a 53-41 win over Mainland Tactix in Blenheim.

The defending champions took time to find their rhythm, but pulled away in the second half to secure victory. 

The Tactix welcomed injured duo Temalisi Fakahokotau and Erikana Pedersen back to the fray, while introducing a new recruit, Silver Ferns shooter Te Paea Selby-Rickit.

For the Pulse, goalkeeper Kelly Jury, still on managed minutes during her comeback from injury, made her first official start for her new team.

The Pulse opened up an early lead in the first quarter, before the Tactix fought back to lead 12-11 at the first break.

Both teams went blow-for-blow in the second and the scores were locked  22-22 at halftime. 

Led by star shooters Aliyah Dunn (35/38) and Ameliaranne Ekenasio (18/22), the Pulse pulled away in the third quarter and extended their lead in the final period to record a comfortable win.

Saviour Tui.
Saviour Tui. Photo credit: Photosport

Elsewhere, Northern Mystics opened their season with a narrow 59-55 win over crosstown rivals Northern Stars in Auckland.

Teenage shooting sensation Grace Nweke led the way for the Mystics, scoring 40 goals, while Stars and Silver Ferns shooter Maia Wilson landed 40 of her 45 attempts. 

The Mystics were without injured Silver Fern Bailey Mes, but Saviour Tui stood up in her absence, landing 16 from her 20 attempts.

For now, New Zealand's domestic netball competition is business as usual, with most global and Australasian sport on hold due to the coronavirus.

The Mystics and Pulse are back in action on Sunday, facing the Tactix and Southern Steel respectively.