Last chance for fine-tuning at Ōtaki pre-season
Te Wānanga o Raukawa will provide the final testing ground for all teams when they host the third edition of the ANZ Premiership pre-season netball tournament in Ōtaki on February 8 – 10.
Featuring an extended programme in 2019 which involves 11 games over three days, the tournament has become a popular event with the teams, and takes on extra significance this year due to the early start to the season because of July’s Netball World Cup.
``It’s hugely important as it’s the last chance we get to test-run against opposition that we’re going to play during the league and check whether some of the things we’ve been working on are really ready to go,’’ Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse coach Yvette McCausland-Durie said.
Fresh off their first outing of the season in Brisbane last weekend, which included three matches against local opposition, the Pulse were excited to finally get the ball rolling and will look to push on this weekend.
``It was a quality team-building opportunity and most importantly we got games with match intensity,’’ McCausland-Durie said.
``The scores in each of the games didn’t reflect how hard we hard to work to get the wins. It might have looked comfortable but it was hard work.
``It was really good to get started and we’ve come away with good clarity around which aspects need a little bit of brushing up and I’m sure we’ll come out of this weekend with some more work-ons.’’
For the coach, the on-going focus rests with the Pulse’s four key performance goals which are centred on their loss rate, scoring rate, ability to recognise momentum and the mental awareness associated with correct decision-making under pressure.
With several players having been away on international duty and Karin Burger also missing the trip to Brisbane, McCausland-Durie has her full team together for the first time since December 21.
``It will take a little bit of settling because she hasn’t been on court with us now for five weeks but what we know with her is that she picks up things quickly,’’ she said of Burger. ``That’s why it’s very important that we keep that continuity, so she can get some flow going into the opening round.’’
All six teams – Pulse, Northern Mystics, Northern Stars, Splice Construction Magic, The Good Oil Tactix and Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel, including management, officials and umpires – will be accommodated at the Te Wānanga o Raukawa campus in Ōtaki, north of Wellington, for four days.
All matches will be played at the Māori Tertiary Education provider’s health and fitness facility, Ngā Purapura with time for all involved to embrace and enjoy the special significance of the cultural engagement which includes a powhiri for all teams and officials, cultural activities and living together on the marae.
The ANZ Premiership gets under way on February 24.
Friday, February 8
Pulse v Tactix – 11am
Mystics v Magic – 1pm
Stars v Steel – 4pm
Pulse v Magic – 6pm
Saturday, February 9
Pulse v Stars – 11am
Steel v Mystics – 1pm
Tactix v Magic – 4pm
Pulse v Mystics – 6pm
Stars v Magic – 9am
Mystics v Tactix – 11am
Pulse v Steel – 1pm