Celebrating 25 Years of Scoop
Special: Up To 25% Off Scoop Pro Learn More

Art & Entertainment | Book Reviews | Education | Entertainment Video | Health | Lifestyle | Sport | Sport Video | Search


Rock-Solid Ioane A Key Presence In Pulse Defence Line

Constant running repairs at the attack end have not detracted from the potency of the Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse defensive line where unsung midcourter Fa’amu Ioane has been a key cog during the ANZ Premiership netball league.

With major injury woes to frontline attacking players, the Pulse have risen to the occasion through their indomitable spirit which in large measure has been fashioned by the resiliency shown on defence.

And in the thick of the action at the back end of the court, which has become the most miserly in the league, stands the gritty, dogged and ever-present figure of wing defence Ioane. Impressive all-round defence has kept the team in the contest at times while playing a strong hand in fending off all-comers through the opening six rounds.

Not an attention-seeking type person, Ioane is nonetheless having a terrific season, happily leaving others to adjudicate on the key role she plays. And on that front, Pulse assistant coach Kim Howard, who looks after the team’s defensive structures, needs no second invitation to share her thoughts.

``We play a unit defence (centre/wing defence). The wonderful thing is that they’re working so well together but Mu (Ioane) is a real leader in that space and, in my opinion, extremely under-rated,’’ Howard said.

``Along with all wing defences, it’s a thankless job. They do a lot of the hard work out the front and Mu is especially talented at that whether it’s forcing the attackers into having to make another movement or denying cutters, it’s all stuff that can’t be measured in statistics.

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading

Are you getting our free newsletter?

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.

``But typically what happens is she’ll do the work out the front, along with the centre, and the in-circle defenders will be the ones that pick off the intercept or reap the benefits of that hard work out the front.’’

Howard is effusive in her regard for Ioane, rating her as outstanding and close to the best wing defence in New Zealand currently.

``She is integral to our defensive structure, is very smart and leads the way for us up front,’’ Howard said. ``When I give her feedback, I run out of superlatives.’’

Fitter than last season, the experienced Ioane, 28, is feeling right at home in her second year with the Pulse after earlier stints with the Mystics and Stars, and seemingly tailor-made for the challenges the team is dealing with.

``I am enjoying the challenge and think our team has handled it pretty well, especially with three of our starting line-up being ruled out for lengthy periods, so yeah, it’s been a challenge for us but it’s been good to see how resilient we’ve been and how hard we work for each other,’’ she said.

``It’s been awesome working with all of our defenders. I think as a defensive unit we work really well together because we play quite similar styles. It’s good that we can all adapt to the different styles of one-on-one or being able to switch into space marking without too much fuss.’’

With her primary occupation focussed on marking wing attacks, who are often the quickest in a team, Ioane is grateful to have fleet-footed team-mate Whitney Souness as a key ally.

``All wing attacks are different and bring their own different strengths,’’ she said. ``But for me, it’s great to have Whitney because she’s one of the quickest in the league, so having to keep up with her speed and change of direction at training really helps me a lot when I come up against the others.’’

The Pulse meet the Magic in Round 7 action in Tauranga on Saturday, the message from Ioane quite simple, just to keep working as a team.

``For us, it’s just to keep building on our connections and our new team-mates that are coming in and just keep helping them out,’’ she said. ``If we lose ball, it’s all about getting on defence and getting it back. It’s got to be another team effort out there this weekend.’’

© Scoop Media

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland

Join Our Free Newsletter

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.