Pulse announce midcourt for 2021 season
Three Silver Ferns squad members and a rising young teenaged talent will join forces in the Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse midcourt for the 2021 ANZ Premiership season.
Influential performers in the Pulse engine room this year, Maddy Gordon and Claire Kersten will be joined by Whitney Souness, who makes a return to Wellington after a season with Splice Construction Magic, while Paris Lokotui, after two successful seasons with the Central Manawa Beko Netball League team, makes the leap to the elite level.
Gordon, Kersten and Souness have all left their mark as top-quality midcourters, mirrored by their recent selections in the Silver Ferns squad, while multi-talented sportswoman, Lokotui, has an exciting future.
Lokotui, 18, in her first year at university, has already represented New Zealand in three different sports – netball (NZ Secondary Schools), basketball (Junior Tall Ferns) and water polo (New Zealand U16).
“We’re very pleased with the make-up of our midcourt for next year, there’s lots of balance in the quartet, giving us variety up front and at the back which is great,” Netball Central Director of High Performance Wai Taumaunu said.
“There’s probably more variety up front than we had this year. We’re incredibly fortunate with the variety, balance and flexibility in the quartet chosen.
“We’ve got Whitney, who’s predominantly an attacking midcourt, Claire and Paris, who’s learning the ropes, who are predominantly defensive midcourters, and, of course, Maddy, who can run all three positions. She started as a wing defence and has made a good fist of her first year at wing attack and cemented herself at centre in the Beko team, so has that incredible variety to her game.”
Lokotui, who has been a Pulse training partner, was last year among the second wave of 12 young sportswomen named as part of the Tania Dalton Foundation which supports talented young sportswomen. The programme provides girls with opportunities to connect with like-minded athletes and experienced mentors.
After starting out as an in-circle defender, Lokotui has been effectively re-modelled into primarily a wing defence/centre while adding cover at goal defence.
Incoming coach Gail Parata couldn’t be happier with the make-up of her midcourt.
“I’m very excited with the variety we’ve got across those positions. Three of them can pretty much play across the three positions, so we’ve got really great cover in that area with that line-up of talent.” She said.
“There’s absolutely a lot of firepower in there. The other thing is that Whitney and Claire have been around for a number of years, have worked together before, so have that connection already and what Maddy has done in one year playing up the front end of our attack has been really exciting.
2021 Pulse midcourt: