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Van Dyk Gearing Up For Haier Pulse Debut

Van Dyk Gearing Up For Haier Pulse Debut

30 January 2014

This weekend’s ANZ Championship pre-season clashes in New Plymouth between the Haier Pulse and the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic will see legendary shooter Irene van Dyk run out in the yellow dress of the Pulse for the very first time.

After almost 10 years playing for Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic, the most capped netballer in history has returned to her home town of Wellington to play for the Haier Pulse. It’s a decision that is likely to bring a new energy to the goal shoot’s game and more importantly to her life off court.

“Oh my gosh, the change has been fantastic,” she says. “It has definitely made my life easier from a practical point of you. Following team training recently I was able to offer the girls a ride home and that hasn’t happened before because I’ve always been the one travelling between Hamilton and Wellington and I did that because, that’s just what you do. But to be able to drive home after training felt really great.”

“It also means I have extra time to spend with Bianca (her daughter) and take her to netball. It also allows me more time to recover after training. All those little details you can often overlook now have more significance.”

Van Dyk is also enjoying the opportunity to play with many of her Silver Ferns team mates and is looking forward to growing more as a player under the guidance of coach Robyn Broughton.

“It’s so refreshing. We have this new culture, there is a different atmosphere and I love everything about it,” she says.

“Robyn is such a wealth of information and she knows exactly what she wants. She has an amazing attention to detail and expects us to do the basics perfectly …no dropped balls, that sort of thing and I really respect that. I think she and the Pulse have done really well to pull together a team with such fantastic players and create an environment that is really professional and with very high expectations.”

Van Dyk is originally from Johannesburg and represented South Africa before making New Zealand home in 2000 and playing her first test for the Ferns against Australia that year. She was part of the Silver Ferns team that won the world championship title in 2003 and Commonwealth Games crowns in 2006 and 2010 wowing crowds with her skill, accuracy, dedication and consistent shooting. She was New Zealand’s Sportswoman of the Year in 2004 and her services to the game were recognised with the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) in the 2009 Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

It’s fair to say Irene is one of the best examples in netball of sportsmanship, coupled with an amazing playing ability – and she is always smiling.

While she has one eye firmly on the 2014 ANZ Netball Championship title and the 2014 Commonwealth Games title with the Silver Ferns in July-August; van Dyk says she must first focus on her own role within the team.

“I’ve been working really hard on my fitness and conditioning and feel strong but when it comes to game time I need to build very strong links with Donna (Wilkins), link really well with our mid courters and be a play maker,” she says.

“And as one of the more experienced players in the team I am really happy to share my knowledge with the younger team members, but equally keen to hear their fresh ideas. And I really love that two-way respect.”

When van Dyk is not on court, she can sometimes be found relief teaching in the classrooms of Wellington’s schools; carrying out her ambassadorial role for Tall Poppy Real Estate and of course spending time with her family. She also enjoys mentoring rising sports stars and offering her skills at netball clinics.

“Bianca is only 2cm shorter than me and we spend a lot of time practising netball skills. I’m not a pushy mother as she loves her sport. She’s so motivated and loves her netball and rowing as well. I encourage her to try as many sports as possible before it all gets too serious. You know, you have to enjoy it. That’s the most important lesson I hope she learns and always keeps enjoying it.”

The pre-season games will be made up of 6 quarters, with centre pass at 4.20pm(Saturday) and 10.30am (Sunday). Tickets cost $17 for adults and $7 for children* (2-12 years) and cover general admission for both games.

*Children free if 2 years and under and sit on parent/guardian's lap (No ticket required). Above prices exclude booking fees.

Tickets are on sale from Ticketmaster: http://www.ticketmaster.co.nz/event/24004B94CC5330A4?did=netballtaranaki

Keep up to date with all the latest news from the Haier Pulse by visiting www.pulse.org.nz, www.facebook.com/Haier.Pulse and twitter @HaierPulse

ENDS

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