ANZ Premiership: Mainland Tactix topple champions Central Pulse to stake championship claims

Mainland Tactix have make an important statement of intent in their quest for an ANZ Premiership crown, toppling defending champions Central Pulse 50-49 at Rangiora.

The Wellington side held a 25-23 halftime edge in an evently contested contest, but lost their advantage when Tactix scored three unanswered goals soon after the restart.

The southerners built a five-goal lead early in the fourth quarter, but Pulse closed strongly, levelling again at 46-46 with five straight goals to set up a nailbiting finish.

With little more than a minute remaining and scores still locked at 49-49, rookie Pulse shooter Amelia Walmsley stepped out of bounds under goal and from the turnover, Tactix shooter Aliyah Dunn slotted the gamewinner.

Dunn was the competition's leading scorer for the Pulse last season, before shifting south over the summer to strengthen the Tactix attack. She returned 33/37 on goal, but found support from Silver Ferns attack Te Paea Selby-Rickit (17/20).

Walmsley continued her encouraging debut season at this level, shooting 40/45 for the Pulse.

"We came out firing and they came out firing, and it came down to the last seconds," said Tactix captain Kimiora Poi. "We're slowly building and getting better each game, but there are always things to improve on."

The result propels the Tactix to second on the competition table with a 3-1 record and they face Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic on Monday.

Mainland Tactix 50 (Dunn 33/37, Selby-Rickit 17/20) Central Pulse 49 (Walmsley 40/45, Metuarau 9/12)