Australian shooting great joins Pulse coaching roster
The appointment of former Australian netball captain Vicki Wilson as specialist shooting coach has further bolstered Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse’s impressive stable of side-line expertise.
Wilson, who played over 100 tests for Australia during a 15-year international career and was the world’s best goal shoot during the 1990s, is no stranger to New Zealanders. After she had finished tormenting opponents on the court, Wilson turned her hand to coaching and mentoring.
In 2013, she was embraced on this side of the Tasman when becoming Silver Ferns assistant coach to Waimarama Taumaunu leading up to the 2015 Netball World Cup, the first Australian to be involved with New Zealand at this level.
More recently, Wilson has just finished a three-year stint with Fiji which culminated with the World Cup held earlier this year and jumped at the opportunity to be involved with Pulse coach Yvette McCausland-Durie, her assistant Pelesa Semu and fellow specialists Taumaunu (defence) and Sandra Edge (midcourt).
``I’m really excited about the opportunity to come and work with the Pulse and Yvette,’’ she said.
``Our paths have crossed over the years and we have similar philosophies on the game, so it’s exciting to come into a really successful programme and one that’s looking for variation in its attacking structures, in particular with the goalers.
``Specialist sessions make a difference all over the court and to be able to work with the youngsters (Tiana Metuarau and Aliyah Dunn) and to reconnect with Ameliaranne (Ekenasio) is wonderful.’’
With both residing in Queensland, Wilson first came across Ekenasio as a 16-year-old schoolgirl in Bundaberg, a montage of the school’s sportswoman of the year providing ample vision to Wilson that she had discovered a rare gem.
``To see her now and to watch her progress over the years has been absolutely amazing and a credit to how hard she’s worked,’’ Wilson said of Ekenasio. ``She’s got phenomenal rhythm on her shot, has great involvement in the game and she’s so strong, and to see her in this group (Pulse), she’s a terrific leader.’’
Having watched from afar, Wilson is well-versed in what has eventuated during the ANZ Premiership and comes into the group well aware that the Pulse have one constant in the form of their potent shooting trio of Ekenasio and youngsters Metuarau and Dunn, still in the infancy of their careers.
``They are very talented and the combination of them offers something different,’’ Wilson said. ``Now it’s trying to formulate attacking structures around that when you have a very different combination, so it’s about providing them with ideas and cementing patterns of play in their mind which they can fall back on at the default.
``You can’t win unless you have accurate shooters and they have no fear of the post, that’s what I love about them. They go to the post but we have to remember the ball supply’s been wonderful to them as well and the speed at which the ball comes down court.
``But to have the shooters who actually enjoy going to post and practising, that’s rewarding in itself, just to know they recognise they’ve got that added responsibility. They’ve got great habits.
``They (Metuarau and Dunn) are so young and just so keen. We’ve only had two specialist sessions but with their work rate and ability to pick up things, I expect things to move along very, very quickly.’’
Brisbane-based Wilson won’t be shifting to Wellington but certain slots have been pencilled into the programme when she will be on deck to add her expertise while also fitting in visits to Centres within the Zone and liaising from Australia when required.