ANZ Premiership: Pivotal decision pays off for Maddy Gordon, as Pulse eye grand final glory

Central Pulse midcourter Maddy Gordon faced a tough decision at the start of the ANZ Premiership season.

After suffering a knee injury early in the competition, she had two options - get season-ending surgery or play through the pain.

"It was definitely a tough decision," Gordon told Newshub. "But it came down to, if I was going to get surgery, I would've been out for the whole season so I wouldn't have been given a chance.

"So I decided to rest it to see if it would heal itself and then be able to play the back end of the season."

And the decision has paid off for the 22-year-old. Her stellar form has helped the Pulse to Sunday's ANZ Premiership final against the Stars and put her in line for a return to the Silver Ferns, when their squad for the Birmingham Commonwealth Games is named later this month.

"Now I'm playing in a final, which is unreal," she added. "I still have the potential to trial for the Commonwealth Games and make that squad."

The knee injury saw her miss the first half of the ANZ Premiership but she's since made up for lost time, helping the Pulse teammates qualify in first with a win over the Mystics last week to earn hosting rights for the final.

"Very happy that I made that decision," she said. "I think I've given myself the best opportunity by making that call."

Gordon hopes to be a big part of the Pulse in the final, as she eyes a mouth-watering matchup against fellow Silver Ferns midcourters Gina Crampton and Mila Reuelu-Buchanan.

"We have a lot of work to do with those two," she admitted. "We need to keep them apart, so they can't work together, and we need to try and stop their vision a little bit."

Both teams have been evenly matched all season, finishing on 34 points apiece after the 15 regular season games. 

Pulse coach Yvette McCausland-Durie admitted both teams boast an equal amount of talent, believing the result would come down to preparation and mindset.

"The skill level is equal, the occasion is equal, it's just who is going to front on it," McCausland-Durie said.

The two-time ANZ Premiership winning coach said if the team can improve individually, they will get better as a team too.

"By and large, they are just looking to be better than they were in the last match, and each of them are saying, if this is the last match I play, then I want to make it a good one."

The two sides met in the grand final in 2019, where the Pulse got the better of the Auckland-based side and they'll be hoping for the same result, as they search for their third title in four years.