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Experienced defender and comeback teenager join Pulse

In something of a homecoming for both, willowy defender Kelly Jury and reinvented midcourter Renee Savai’inaea will line up in Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse colours for the 2020 ANZ Premiership netball season.

Making the move from Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic, Jury has been capped 22 times for the Silver Ferns and was a key figure in the NZU21 team’s World Youth Cup title-winning exploits in 2017. Standing at 1.92m, she is one of the tallest defenders in the New Zealand game.

The athletic and strongly-built Savai’inaea returns to the Pulse fold after first coming into the team while still a student at St Mary’s College, in 2017.

``With Taranaki being part of the Central Zone, I feel like I’m moving home,’’ Jury said. ``I was born and bred in Taranaki, so being able to represent my home region once again is really cool.

``Having the opportunity to work with the Pulse’s highly-regarded coaching group was a real drawcard and I’m very excited to learn as much as I can off them. I signed my first Magic contract when I was 17 and had been there for five years, so I’m just really excited for something new, something challenging and also something scary.’’

Pulse coach Yvette McCausland-Durie is delighted to have secured the services of both young players, who identify strongly with the Zone while offering a potent but different set of credentials to next year’s mix.

``I’m very excited with the addition of Kelly to our ranks,’’ she said. ``Our vision is on homegrown talent and Kelly originates from Taranaki and played most of her representative and schoolgirl netball through New Plymouth Girls High and Taranaki reps.

``It’s going to be great to have her on board and the experience she will bring from her time with the Magic and as a Silver Fern.

``It will change our game type having a really tall goalkeeper and gives us other points of difference and variations to use in front of her.’’

Originally a wing/goal defence, it was identified that to be successful at ANZ level, Savai’inaea needed to develop her game at centre, resulting in the strapping teenager spending this season honing her skills as a centre/wing defence with the successful Central Manawa Beko Netball league team.

Turning 19 next month, Savai’inaea is a multi-talented sportswoman, and is a former NZU21 squad member and New Zealand Secondary School representative while also being a Pulse training partner this year.

``We were incredibly impressed with what she did at Beko level this year, the growth and how quickly she’s advanced her centre game,’’ McCausland-Durie said.

``She’s got power, she’s got strength and is somewhat of a risk-taker which is quite nice to see on attack, so she’s confident with the ball in hand and she’s settled in on her feeding skills. You’ve certainly got a very strong defensive centre with her but equally, she’s got power and acceleration on attack.’’

Jury, who is four papers shy of completing a Bachelor of Health, Sport and Human Performance, is set to have corrective shoulder surgery in the coming days but there are no concerns regarding her readiness ahead of next season.

Confirmed Pulse players for 2019:

Karin Burger, Maddy Gordon, Kelly Jury, Claire Kersten, Renee Savai’inaea.

© Scoop Media

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