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Loyal Pulse Captain Reaping The Rewards

As the elder stateswoman of this year’s ANZ Premiership netball league, time has proved the catalyst in continuing to add lustre to the ever-evolving career of Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse captain Katrina Rore.

In what is expected to be a top-drawer clash, the Rore-led defending champions will open this year’s league against the well-credentialled Tactix in Blenheim on Sunday.

Wearing her new-found status as the league’s oldest player like a badge of honour, Rore, 32, will lead the Pulse into battle for the 128th time while clocking up her 133rd consecutive game for the team from the Capital since 2010.

Rore spent two years with the Southern Steel in 2008 and 2009 while studying in Dunedin and has played throughout the semi-professional era which was launched in 2008.

Describing herself as a ``young old, and that 32 surely has to be one of the youngest oldest players going around,’’ Rore remains one of the best in the business. Compared to former high-flyers Temepara Bailey, Leana de Bruin and Irene van Dyk, who all continued to play into their early 40s, Rore is a spring chicken.

``I’m pretty proud of how long I’ve been around, been able to stay in the league, gain all those caps and been able to be part of one franchise for so long,’’ she said.

Rore has experienced the complete set of emotions during her long tenure with the Wellington-based team, her loyalty and resilience overcoming some tumultuous times with a glorious run to three successive Grand Final appearances since the inception of the ANZ Premiership in 2017, culminating in a maiden title last year.

``I think when you have the lows, the highs mean that much more. It makes you appreciate what you’ve got and what you’ve worked for that much more,’’ she said.

These days, Rore cuts a very relaxed figure, the nerves, excitement and love of playing for the Pulse still there but in a different way. Her experience and growth as a captain have led to diverting her nervous energy in other directions, notably wanting to see others succeed and have a good experience in the environment.

``After all this time, I still thoroughly enjoy it,’’ she said. ``Keeping it fresh is key and the enjoyment factor is huge. If you’re not enjoying what you’re doing, you’re not going to get the best out of anybody.

``Every year seems different even though sometimes personnel or management doesn’t change too much. There’s always a different vibe, different goals and you see the growth of players from one year to the next which is really exciting and I’m getting the most fun out of that at the moment.

``2020 has been awesome so far and our management is so great. I’m really looking forward to the season.’’

That starts on Sunday with a tough and perhaps defining first-up assignment against a talent-laden Tactix.

With the return from serious injury of dynamic defender Temalisi Fakahokotau and midcourter Erikana Pedersen along with the new signing of Silver Ferns shooter Te Paea Selby-Rickit, the Tactix have a assembled a seasoned and potent line-up.

``They’re a team this year which everyone is wary of,’’ Rore said. ``They’ve got a great roster and have an experienced core which has been together for a while now. The addition of Te Paea also brings those experience levels up.

``We’re definitely going into this with our eyes wide open and understanding that we need to put our best foot forward, especially taking them on at home. It’s a great opening match for the season.’’
 

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