2019 Season Preview: Consistency key for Pulse
With minimal changes in personnel, there’s a familiar ring to Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse in 2019, a situation they’re banking on to give them an extra edge.
Introductions were not necessary when the Pulse assembled for the pre-season, all 10 having worked closely together in 2018. Last year’s training partners Maddy Gordon and Elle Temu make the step up from Central’s successful Beko Netball League team to join eight returning Pulse players from the team which finished runners-up in last year’s competition.
In-circle defender Temu captained Central to back-to-back Beko titles while impressive midcourter Gordon pocketed the MVP award in the Grand Final while both were part of the Pulse team which won last year’s Super Club tournament.
“It was quite a significant decision for us, not only about wanting to have continuity but given the season with its short turnaround, it just gives you a really strong base to start from,” Pulse coach Yvette McCausland-Durie said.
“Having the core of our squad back is a massive advantage and with Maddy and Elle, through their experience as training partners, we’re really fortunate to have people who know where they fit, know where they stand and are completely comfortable in the environment, and with the programme, right from the start.”
In a condensed and demanding season which includes tight turnarounds, back-to-back games and the travel factor, quality recovery time has been identified as a key focus for 2019. With that in mind, the Pulse have restructured their programme to ensure there are adequate physical and mental breaks to maximise the players’ recovery time.
Pipped at the post in last year’s Grand Final and with their processes still largely intact, the Pulse will look to add variety to their product in 2019.
“Last season, we worked on settling players and combinations,” McCausland-Durie said.
“We’ve done that and feel we’ve got a really good base but now want to add points of difference to our game on both attack and defence. We will do that, both with differences in structures and personnel.”
Still a young competition as the third season approaches, the Pulse coach believes there will be further improvement as all facets continue to be closely scrutinised.
“People have taken opportunities, not only the players around the game, but the other bits that add to the game, like analysis and other forms of technology that help you think a bit more about what you can do to advance athletes,” she said.
“The players are fitter, faster and stronger and that continues to add value to the competition, and the fact that we have only 10 players per team but there’s lots of variation coming through and new players coming in each season is also adding value. So, it will keep getting better.
“Because of the short turnaround, everybody is that much more tuned into netball and that makes a big difference. For 2019, I expect a tight start, a tight middle and a tight finish.
“Our goals are simple, we want to be in the Grand Final and win a Grand Final.”
Karin Burger, Aliyah Dunn, Ameliaranne Ekenasio, Sulu Fitzpatrick, Maddy Gordon, Claire Kersten, Tiana Metuarau, Katrina Rore (nee Grant), Whitney Souness, Elle Temu.