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Foot In Two Camps Paying Off For Versatile Pelasio

After some pre-season soul-searching, shooter Kiana Pelasio has come full circle to now be playing a key role for an injury-affected Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse in the ANZ Premiership netball league.

Thinking she might have a season off, Pelasio, 25, has, instead, found herself busy flitting between two netball leagues. The Pulse training partner has been adding cover for her good mate Tiana Metuarau, who remains out of action with a foot injury.

She is also captain of sister team Central Manawa in the National Netball League. On top of that, Pelasio, a crafty player who uses her speed and the court spaces well, is taking on the challenge of learning a new position in the midcourt, all adding to an eventful and unexpected start to her season.

``I was going to have a year off and just evaluate and just see where work took me and really settle into that side of life but, yeah, I did come full circle and decide to give everything another crack this year,’’ she said.

``It’s been going well and I’ve worked my way into being comfortable in both environments now. I’m lucky to have my toes in both camps and have the experience of the players around me in the Pulse and hopefully being able to take that into the Manawa team and showing it on court with them.’’

With the recent loss of midcourt dynamo Maddy Gordon to injury and Metuarau still unavailable, the Pulse attack has undergone significant change but has shown a strong resilient streak to hold their own thus far.

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That has included Amelia Walmsley having a quick introduction to the new role of goal attack, Khiarna Williams having longer stints than expected under the hoop as she works her way back from major injuries, including two years out of top flight netball, the injection of Pelasio, and the introduction of a new centre.

``We all get on really well, on and off court, and I think the connections off-court are starting to be seen on-court as well,’’ Pelasio said.

``We’re super, super lucky to have Tiana still steer our shooting end. Whether she’s on-court or off-court, she still plays a huge part and is an influential figure for us. It’s a great team to be a part of, such a cool culture on and off court, so we’re really lucky in that respect.’’

Pelasio has also become something of a jack-of-all-trades after short stints at centre for both the Pulse and Manawa in the latest round.

``In recent years, I’ve slid across to wing attack here and there but centre’s new as of this year and I’m taking an open arms approach and being open to the position with the Pulse and Manawa, and see where it takes me,’’ she said.

For Pulse coach Anna Andrews-Tasola, it was always a priority for Pelasio to move into the midcourt this season as part of her development.

``We see a lot of potential for her there. She’s doing personal bests in the gym and with her conditioning,’’ the coach said.

``It’s fortunate but unfortunate, due to the circumstances, that we’ve had to keep her in the circle but it helps her build connections with the shooters, so when she does get the opportunity to play more midcourt, then she’ll be able to use those feeding skills in that skillset.

``Kiana’s the ultimate team mate, a great young woman and we’re very appreciative for the time that she spends in between both our programmes. She is leading by example for Manawa but also playing a very critical part in making sure we (Pulse) have got a moving shooting circle.’’

Up against the Tactix, who boast a formidable and experienced defence end, and in front of a sell-out crowd, the rearranged Pulse have a mighty challenge on their hands when the two unbeaten teams square off in Palmerston North on Sunday.

A former New Zealand touch representative, Pelasio moved to the Capital ahead of last season, and works for Otago University on its Wellington campus, after studying Human Resource Management and Strategic Management at Otago Polytechnic.

© Scoop Media

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