2020 Season Preview: Central Pulse
On the surface, much remains the same for Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse but the ability to offer something different will be key for the defending champions during the 2020 ANZ Premiership.
The Pulse have the least amount of personnel change across all the teams, with just the addition of lofty defender Kelly Jury, the only real newcomer, and powerfully-built midcourter Renee Savai’inaea making a return after honing her skills in a new position in the Beko Netball League.
The retention of eight from last year’s winning team has helped with stability, continuity and the off-court dynamics while systems and processes are well-ingrained but with a target on their backs, Pulse coach Yvette McCausland-Durie is looking at doing things a little differently.
“We are certainly viewing this season as a ‘start again’ scenario, and that we’ve got to do a fair amount of work to even get ourselves in a position to be in the frame for the play-offs,” she said.
“We’re realistic that in a three-round competition the ability to bring difference and to have some change is going to be important.
“We’ve been working hard on a number of variables which could include a different player or positional changes with players but equally it’s got to be a bit about how we play the game differently, too.
“So, we’ve been working around the concept of how do we keep re-inventing ourselves.”
The arrival of the 1.92m Jury, who has been hampered by injury over the last couple of years and is tracking positively following corrective shoulder surgery, will add a different dynamic to the defence line while the athletic Savai’inaea, who first made the Pulse team as a schoolgirl in 2018, gives extra variation in the midcourt.At the shooting end, the versatile and potent trio of Ameliaranne Ekenasio, Tiana Metuarau and Aliyah Dunn will reunite for a third successive campaign.
“We’ve always had defence who are small, active, go out and hunt ball and that’s been how we’ve played it but now we’ve got Kelly it adds another option and gives us another choice in our approach,” McCausland-Durie said.Still a relative newcomer, 2020 looms as a big test for rising young midcourt talent Maddy Gordon, who takes on a key role.
“You can count the minutes on your hands really that she got in the ANZ Premiership in 2019, so we‘ve really pushed her forward for this season,” McCausland-Durie said.
“She predominantly came to us as a wing defence/centre and now we’re asking her to be a wing attack. So, there’s a massive amount of adjusting for her to do both technically and tactically in terms of performance but what we feel confident about is that she’s got a really good engine, a great capacity to learn and to learn fast. She’s got enough speed to be able to adapt and adjust really quickly in games and there’s enough stability around her to know what she’s going in to.
“We feel it’s a good chance for her and what we saw at Super Club (in December), she stepped up really well, has managed and I’m looking forward to her progress.”
Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse 2020:
Karin Burger, Aliyah Dunn, Ameliaranne Ekenasio, Maddy Gordon, Kelly Jury, Claire Kersten, Tiana Metuarau, Katrina Rore, Renee Savai’inaea, Elle Temu.