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2024 Preview: New Pulse coach ready for step up

2024 Preview: New Pulse coach ready for step up

There’s plenty that’s familiar for Anna Andrews-Tasola, the new Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse head coach having forged a strong reputation in recent years to leave her well-prepared for the top job in 2024.

With seven tried and true performers returning from last season, the Pulse’s former assistant coach has a stable base and well-set foundation to continue the team’s success of recent years.

Every coach operates in their own way and Andrews-Tasola will bring new ideas while building on the work that’s gone before.

One of the key things in our identity as a team this year is being authentic and embracing that, so I make sure that I bring my authentic self and I challenge our girls to do that as well… to embrace our diverse thinking and the way that we do things,” she said.

There’s a lot of firsts that go with this specific role but the main thing for me is I’m really grateful for the support that I’ve had over the past seven years, being a part of the wider coaching staff and the space to be able to work on my craft and being able to bring some new ideas but understand how important it is to keep the foundation that we’ve built.”

Andrews-Tasola was the Pulse’s assistant coach for two years and specialist shooting coach for 2020 and 2021, at the same time as being head coach of the successful Central Manawa team in the Synergy Hair Netball League.

It’s really important to have that stability of the returning players and the strong foundation that’s been set over the last couple of years. But from that, it’s also important that we continue to evolve, grow and get better,” she said.

In talented young shooter Khiarna Willams, Australian defender Kelea Iongi and promising midcourter Parris Petera, the Pulse have three newcomers in their line-up for 2024.

Our leadership group and the wider group have been fantastic in making sure that they settle in quickly, understand our standards and how we work, and they’ve all been working really hard and transitioned in really smoothly,” the coach said.

With no pinnacle events on the international calendar this year, the ANZ Premiership reverts to its extended programme with just one game played a week for the duration of the 15-round 45-game regular season.

In a lengthy season, keeping players fit and healthy will be paramount but also has its benefits.

This format gives us more time to reflect, repair and go again,” Andrews-Tasola said.

The Pulse have a strong core of leaders with Kelly Jackson (nee Jury) and Tiana Metuarau being retained as co-captains for a third year and midcourters Whitney Souness and Maddy Gordon being part of the wider leadership group.

For me, the most important thing is being able to see the growth of this team.

They are, overall, still a young group, so it’s important they continue to grow, challenge each other and make adjustments where needed. Sometimes things don’t work straight away but we encourage that environment of learning and learning really fast.”