Pulse excited to launch new era
March 24, 2017
Pulse excited to launch new era
Excitement is outweighing any feelings of nerves for the Central Pulse ahead of their clash against the Northern Mystics in the opening round of the ANZ Premiership netball competition on Sunday.
The Pulse will join the five other teams in launching New Zealand’s elite new competition with a Super Sunday extravaganza in Hamilton, highlighting the first round of action from the same venue which will also occur twice more throughout the 13-round season.
The Pulse and Mystics play the final match of Sunday’s showpiece, and now standing on the eve of an entirely new phase of netball in this country, can’t wait to get started.
``There’s a good mix of excitement and anticipation but also that little feeling of `have we done enough’,’’ Pulse coach Yvette McCausland-Durie said.
``But it’s more about the excitement, I have huge faith in the players and what they’ve done and more importantly that they’ve got a nice air of confidence.’’
There is also a little sense of the unknown going into the first outing of the season and trying to get an accurate gauge.
``Having the Otaki pre-season tournament two weeks ago was hugely helpful in giving us a bit of a feel for things,’’McCausland-Durie said. ``But we’re very aware that teams will come (to the competition-proper) with a bit more and that’s been our challenge in the last two weeks….`what’s that little bit more that we’re going to bring’.
``We’re looking forward to it but until you start, you really just don’t know how things are going to go.’’
The pre-season tournament, however, offered little insight into the Mystics’ full capabilities with golden-armed shooter Maria Tutaia and talented England import Sasha Corbin playing no part, the team coming away winless from the weekend.
But the Auckland-based team is brimming with international talent across their court and on paper boast a formidable line-up.
``I think the teams across the board are reasonably even and the contest, in terms of who wins the battle, will be a really interesting one,’’ McCausland-Durie said.
The Pulse players have become used to hearing the oft-spoken phrase from their coach of ``looking after the stuff we get’’. On top of that there has been an emphasis on ensuring that pressure is created early in the piece to force turnovers and deny possession.
There will be extra challenges this season with the reduction from 12 to 10-player teams, the Pulse delighted to have a full complement to call on for the opening round. Key off-season signing Cathrine Tuivaiti, looking to reignite her career in a new environment, has overcome a minor calf tweak while sharp-looking defender Phoenix Karaka is back to full fitness after a lingering ankle complaint.
The advent of a New Zealand-only competition for the first time in 10 years has generated much interest, mostly positive, and now the long build-up phase is nearly over.
``I’m excited because I think it’s going to be a great competition,’’ McCausland-Durie said.
``Netball is going to be seen more often across the country and that can only be good for the game. We are really fortunate that our game has fantastic coverage and that we get opportunities to have players who are semi-professional and train so hard to put a product together that shows some joy but is also absolutely skilful.’’