Super Sub Making Waves For Pulse
From a starter to a bench-warmer and now a super sub, teenaged attacker Tiana Metuarau is fast becoming a key point of difference for Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse in the ANZ Premiership netball league.
Called in as a replacement for the Pulse in 2017 while still at school, Metuarau is in her fourth season with the defending champions and has spent over half her teenage years playing in New Zealand’s elite domestic competition, the 19-year-old last weekend becoming the youngest player to chalk up 50 games.
With a logjam of talent on offer at the Pulse, Metuarau has once again become a major talking point with her contribution from the bench this season, all handled with the poise and eloquence of a seasoned pro.
Metuarau is operating in a rare space as back-up goal and wing attack, gliding seamlessly between the two wings without missing a beat while providing the impetus with her vision and instinct to get the Pulse out of some sticky situations.
It hasn’t been all plain sailing for the strongly built Metuarau, whose long-range pass is executed with the efficiency and effectiveness of a tracer bullet and delivered with nonchalant ease, being a particular speciality, but now it’s all about seizing the moment.
``The first two seasons I was starting a lot, then last season I was on the bench a bit more often. This season I’m still on the bench but I’m still getting opportunities, so it’s just been the development of myself as a person on the court and off,’’ she said.
``Last year I was a lot grumpier because I wasn’t used to being on the bench but this year I’ve come into my own. I’m enjoying it, making the most of the opportunities I get on court and I’m learning new roles.
``Last year, I was just really annoyed and in denial for a while. I didn’t want to accept that I wasn’t fit enough at the time and I hadn’t done the work prior and I didn’t really peak until the last few games of the season.
``I’ve definitely worked a lot harder this year, especially during lockdown which was a really good time for me to get my `A into G’ and get a bit fitter. It’s definitely paid off and I’m pretty happy with where I’m at.’’
With Maddy Gordon designated as the new wing attack for this season, Metuarau was the obvious back-up option and similarly with the goal attack position, giving her a golden opportunity to learn a new role, and is thriving in the situation.
The Pulse are also quite definitive about being a team of 10 where their very real variety of talent stretches from the court to the bench.
``Look at Mads (Gordon) and I, we’re two totally different wing attacks but we both bring our own little flavour and both are well suited to whatever game plan we have set out,’’ Metuarau said. ``We’ve got Elle’s (Elle Temu) who can come in and Renee (Savai’inaea) off the bench, and of course our strong seven that are already starting. It’s very versatile and a real strength to have.’’
The Pulse meet Steel for the second time in six days in Auckland tomorrow (Friday), a punishing final quarter getting them home after a tight tussle in the first three quarters of the first clash.
``I think it will be a tough game but I trust that our team will be able to pull themselves out of whatever situations they get in,’’ Metuarau said.
``Last week against them, we were a little bit slow and quite reliant on a second wind, so heading into this game, I think we understand that we just need to put the foot on the throttle from the get-go and keep pushing and pushing.’’
Metuarau is in her second year at
Victoria University, studying for a Bachelor of Arts degree,
where she is majoring in education and Maori and minoring in