Coach and midcourt trio back with Pulse for 2020
Transforming the fortunes of Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse over the past three years, successful coach Yvette McCausland-Durie will return for a fourth ANZ Premiership campaign in 2020.
Since taking over the head coach role in 2017, McCausland-Durie has guided the Pulse to three successive Grand Finals, highlighted by winning a maiden title this year.
The coach’s retention was at the forefront of piecing together the 2020 Pulse puzzle.
“Yvette has been an integral part of the team and, for us, it was about what do the next few years look like and how we can shape some stability into the franchise,” Netball Central Zone CEO Fran Scholey said.
“We are really pleased to have Yvette back as her ability to bring the very best out of the players on and off the court is the key to our future successes along with our development plans for our players.”
Having to commute from Palmerston North to the Pulse’s Wellington base has its challenges but with the blessing of her family, McCausland-Durie had no second thoughts about returning. In the meantime, the coach can look forward to the midcourt trio of Claire Kersten, Karin Burger and Maddy Gordon returning in 2020. Both Burger and Gordon have signed on for another two years.
“The piece I was weighing up was the time away from home,” McCausland-Durie said.
“My daughter’s in her last year of school next year, so it was really just touching base with her around what did she need from me.
“From a netball perspective, a job perspective and a franchise perspective, it was a really straightforward decision from the sense that this is where I want to be and I’ve really loved my time in the role and still feel that we’ve got some work to do, so from that perspective it was easy.”
Since adopting new positions two years ago Kersten, 30, (centre) and Burger, 26, (wing defence) have been rock solid in the Pulse midcourt adding stability as proven performers while newcomer Gordon, 19, has revelled in the opportunity presented.
The ever-reliable Kersten is part of the Silver Ferns Development Squad while Burger’s stellar upward momentum was rewarded with a spot in next month’s Silver Ferns Netball World Cup team.
“A key for us with Claire and Karin is really creating the frontline of our defensive four, and the spine that fits there between the goalkeeper, goal defence, wing defence and centre is a really key piece that we’ve worked hard on,” McCausland-Durie said.
“Both of them have really settled into their new positions and we’re starting to see the consistency in performance and the confidence in their delivery which really adds huge value to our all-round unit.”
Elevated from the Central Manawa Beko Netball League team this year, exciting young up-and-coming talent Gordon has come along in leaps and bounds after getting her first taste of elite level netball.
“Maddy is a versatile midcourter who can play wing defence, centre and wing attack. We’re going to be really working hard on developing her wing attack/centre roles,” McCausland-Durie said.
“I think her growth will be significant. She’s really resilient, she’s a fast learner and with more game time and more exposure, that growth will certainly accelerate. She has a huge skillset, amazing engine and just a real willingness to learn and develop.”
On the coaching front, Sandra Edge has stepped aside from the assistant’s role but will remain involved as the midcourt specialist coach.
Shooting specialist Irene van Dyk has relocated to Hawke’s Bay where she will continue as Netball Central’s Junior Development Officer and lend support where possible with the team while Wai Taumaunu will remain as the defensive specialist coach.
Confirmed Pulse players for 2020:
Karin Burger, Maddy Gordon, Claire Kersten.