ANZ Premiership: Central Pulse make no contest of grand final triumph over Northern Stars

Central Pulse have become the first team to win a hat-trick of ANZ Premiership crowns with a crushing 56-37 win over Northern Stars at Wellington.

With nine wins from their previous 10 outings - including their elimination playoff win over champions Northern Mystics - the Stars were arguably the form team for the season climax.

International shooter Maia Wilson quickly had the Aucklanders two goals up after the opening centre-pass, but a five-goal burst from the Pulse put them ahead for good and they closed out the first quarter with six unanswered goals. 

Kelly Jury and Maddy Gordon celebrate the Pulse victory
Kelly Jury and Maddy Gordon celebrate the Pulse victory. Photo credit: Photosport

Incredibly, both sets of shooters - Wilson and Jamie Hume for the Stars, Aliyah Dunn and Tiana Metuarau for the Pulse - shot perfectly through the initial stanza, but the northerners could not provide their attack with nearly enough possession to keep them in the contest.

Already down double figures, Stars coach Kiri Wills replaced goal attack Hume with Amorangi Malesala, but by halftime, the scoreline had blown out to 26-15 and reached 20 goals midway through the final period, when Pulse coach Yvette McCausland-Durie cleared her bench.  

The result left the home side celebrating their third title, adding to their back-to-back 2019 and 2020 triumphs, while the Stars are still searching for their first, after also finishing runners-up to their rivals three years ago.

"Proud is an understatement," said Pulse co-captain Metuarau. "I think people thought we were going to come sixth.

"On paper, we probably should have come last, but we worked hard all season.

"Consistency is our focus. Throughout the season, we had some lulls and made it hard for ourselves, so it was nice to see us get that run tonight." 

Central Pulse 56 (Dunn 44/47, Metuarau 11/13, Walmsley 1/2) Northern Stars 37 (Wilson 21/25, Malesala 13/17, Hume 3/4)