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Challenges Loom Large As Pulse Prepare To Re-start Their Season

Finally getting the green light, the enormity of what lies ahead is not lost on Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse coach Yvette McCausland-Durie with a view to the impending re-start of the ANZ Premiership netball league.

The league was suspended after just one round in mid-March due to the Covid-19 lockdown but the move to Alert Level 2 later this week has opened the door for a welcome resumption albeit with restrictions.

A 10-week season is set to resume on Friday, June 19 and will be played at one location, Auckland Netball Centre, in order to meet the Ministry of Health guidelines of providing a consistent and controlled venue.

``It’s good to have it confirmed. It isn’t perfect but it’s an opportunity to get out there and finish this season off with all the challenges it has brought. And we want to get in there and give it our best,’’ McCausland-Durie said.

``We’re not under-estimating the effort it’s going to take with travel and that they’re all away games. It is what it is and so our ability to just get stuck into our work and be really confident about our preparation will be key.’’

With the priority being for teams to set up safe and compliant training environments, the Pulse hope to resume training together as team from next Monday where they will get five weeks of preparation under their belts before scheduled play resumes.

``There’s a real art in preparing yourself for performance, the players have done that so this time frame is really useful and is a good amount of time to get them ready again,’’ McCausland-Durie said.

``In terms of where they’ll be, I think it’s a range of things. Overall, we’ve been tracking them physically and they’re in a good space and mentally they’ve coped really well. I’d say there will be lots of excitement in that initial piece and that will hold us maybe until the end of the first week and after that the reality will set in.

``Over the past few weeks, we’ve kept them informed as much as possible with what we’ve known, so they’re feeling pretty calm and settled about what’s ahead of them but not under-estimating what is shaping as a brutal campaign.’’

With all games being played at the one venue to accommodate Ministry of Health guidelines, the draw has been re-designed but will comprise a full season with all teams still playing each other three times with double-headers included. The results from Round 1, where the Pulse posted a 53-41 win over the Tactix, will still stand, leaving 14 games per team left in the season.

``The draw has been re-planned to take into account the double-headers,’’ McCausland-Durie said. ``Originally the draw we normally get is relative to availability of venues but with that not a consideration now, they can do an actual rotation in and around where you do play everybody in the round, then you move to the next round etc.

``The draw now is quite mixed. It’s not a pure single round where everybody only plays one game and the next week everybody plays two, it’s mixed all over the place. There are games on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday so four days with six teams means it’s not an even spread. But it’s even in the sense that we all have the same number of double-headers they’re just spread all over the place.’’


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