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Leap Into The Unknown As Pulse Prepare To Re-launch Their Season

Fitness, flexibility and recovery are the staple requirements for defending champions Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse after the revised draw for the 2020 ANZ Premiership netball league was released today.

Suspended after just one round in mid-March due to the Covid-19 lockdown, a condensed 10-week season will resume on June 19. In a punishing schedule, all teams will play 14 games apiece to complete this year’s league with matches being staged on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays.

In normal circumstance more time is usually spent on the training court but in a season where much is different, there will be game-time aplenty, the new draw including five double-headers per team on back-to-back days. Playing quarters will be reduced to 12 minutes from 15 for the season.

With the season closed to the public, all fixtures will be played at Auckland Netball Centre to ensure all Ministry of Health and Worksafe NZ Covid-19 requirements are met within a controlled environment.

And that means plenty of travel, most notably for the Pulse, Tactix and Steel.

``It is what it is and the hits from Covid-19 have come on a number of fronts,’’ Pulse coach Yvette McCausland-Durie said. ``It’s going to be challenging and very different but there’s lots of benefits as well. We’re getting to play, it’s a full season……. it is different but it is happening.’’

On average, the Pulse will have two to three days together each week for preparation and will learn as they go with what fits best in regards to the logistics of travel, overnight stays and training.

``For us, it’s really looking at our approach each week and then learning each week. There’s a lot of unknowns, so as much as you can plan, there’s a fair amount of this that we haven’t been through before,’’ McCausland-Durie said.

``Having flexibility and being adaptable, both as a playing group and from a management perspective is pretty key as well. Once we’ve had a bit of a go at it, we should be in a position to work out which situation suits us best. We’re trying to keep pretty open about everything and will learn a lot about ourselves as we go along.’’

With the tight turnarounds and extra demands of this year’s league, player rotation within teams is likely to feature more prominently, the Pulse looking to make full use of their talented roster.

``It’s important to have that depth within the 10 and certainly in the double-headers we will have to look carefully at managing player load, so I feel really blessed with the 10 players that we have,’’ McCausland-Durie said. ``They have faith in each other to do the job and we have faith in them, so that’s a really good space to be in.’’

Results from Round 1 played in March, which the Pulse kicked off with a 53-41 win over the Tactix, will stand.

The season culminates with a triple-header Finals Series on Sunday, August 23 with match-ups to be determined by standings at the conclusion of round robin play. Teams placed first and second on the competition ladder will meet in the Grand Final, following 3rd/4th and 5th/6th classification matches.

Pulse draw:
Round 2: Sunday, June 21 vs Stars
Round 3: Monday, June 29 vs Mystics
Round 4: Saturday, July 4 vs Steel, Sunday, July 5 vs Magic
Round 5: Friday, July 10 vs Steel
Round 6: Saturday, July 18 vs Mystics, Sunday, July 19 vs Tactix
Round 7: Friday, July 24 vs Magic, Saturday, July 25 vs Stars
Round 8: Sunday, August 2 vs Mystics
Round 9: Saturday, August 8 vs Tactix, Sunday, August 9 vs Steel
Round 10: Friday, August 14 vs Stars, Saturday, August 15 vs Magic

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