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Key defensive pairing back for Pulse in 2019

Key defensive pairing back for Pulse in 2019

After a successful first season together, defensive pillars Katrina Grant and Sulu Fitzpatrick will team up again for Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse in the 2019 ANZ Premiership competition.

The experienced pair were key cogs in the Pulse being the best defensive team during this year’s campaign, joining forces with telling effect as a potent in-circle combination.

Captain Grant, 31, was an inspiring figure throughout the domestic season, clinching the 2018 Player of the ANZ Premiership award as a result and having no hesitation in returning for a 10th successive campaign with the Wellington-based team.

“I’ve been with the Pulse a long time and making successive Grand Finals after lots of ups and downs has been significant,” she said.

“The Pulse have been really good to me over the years I’ve been with them. I love Wellington, I love the people and I really want to be loyal to them.

“I really enjoyed playing with Sulu this year, she was amazing and we have a lot more to build on yet. Our young ones were outstanding and did so much for us this year. They’ve grown immensely and watching how far they can go with another year under their belts will be pretty special.”

After playing for a number of franchises over the years, the well-travelled Fitzpatrick, 26, has found her niche with the Pulse, completing her reinvention with the most consistent and accomplished campaign of her career.

That was confirmed with a recent return to the elite-level programme following her selection in the Silver Ferns Development Squad and New Zealand A team, seven years after a brief one-Test stint for the Silver Ferns.

Describing herself as the voice and Grant the legs at the defensive end, Fitzpatrick has embraced her senior player status, developed into a fine leader and is an astute on-court director of play.

Despite leaving her two young children and partner in Auckland for the season, the strongly-built former NZU21 captain has thrived with the Pulse and is determined to make the most of her sacrifices in fulfilling her netball destiny.

“Coming to the Pulse was the best decision I’ve made in terms of netball,” she said.

“With the family sacrifices I’ve made, it is important I make the most of this opportunity and I just loved this season and what we achieved.

“The Pulse has a special environment and I’m really looking forward to being a part of that again in 2019 and seeing more growth.”

Delighted to have the pair back, the retention of experience was a key factor for coach Yvette McCausland-Durie.

“Both were quality performers for us this year and like nothing better than being challenged so it’s exciting to have that experienced mix back for next year. Katrina’s leadership was massive for us and she continues to put the highest standards of expectation on herself,” she said.

“The preparation work Sulu put in ahead of the season was significant, she continued to grow through the campaign, both with her performance and leadership, and is keen to develop in other positions.”