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Light At The End Of The Tunnel For Pulse Play-maker

May 30, 2024

From explosive competitor to frustrated spectator, Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse shooter Tiana Metuarau has been pitched a confronting set of challenges during the first half of the ANZ Premiership netball league.

Adjusting to a lengthy injury spell on the sidelines, where she has resided since mid-March, has tested the resolve on several fronts for the vibrant play-maker, but there is now, finally, light at the end of the tunnel.

Suffering a stress reaction in her foot, the precursor to a bone fracture, has meant time is the only healer for Metuarau, the challenges along the way being both physical and mental for the normally all-action athlete.

``This situation is very new for me,’’ she said. ``So, I’ve struggled a bit from a psychological point of view, just because I have high expectations of myself and I also know how much I can contribute to our team, and I’m just a bit gutted that because of how well I was doing during pre-season and how hard I had worked, that it all just came to a halt.

``I have never sat out such a huge portion of the season, in fact, I’ve never been unavailable for a match, so it’s new and something I’m experiencing for the first time.’’

Now back to full running, and this week taking part in training with the rest of the team for the first time has Metuarau, 23, very excited and while she won’t suit up this weekend, she’s inching closer to a return.

``I really don’t like training alone which is something I’ve been doing for a few months now, so just being able to join in with everyone has a good feel to it,’’ she said.

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``I had pretty much done all the pre-season, about 10 weeks of it, didn’t miss a session, was feeling probably the fittest and playing the best netball I had in a really long time. I could wrap my head around it (injury) for the first two weeks, like, you’re a little bit sad for a few days then you get over it.

``Then when that passes and time goes on, you get a bit upset and a bit stressed out every few weeks. But I know that some of my team-mates have done ACLs (knee reconstruction) and have had far worse injuries like Khiarna (Williams) who was out for two years, so that does put things into perspective.

Metuarau has been a more than useful ally at trainings and on game day where she gets the nod as a specialist coach.

``I have enjoyed it but I’m ready to play now…..I don’t know how much coaching I’ve got left in me,’’ she quipped.

Considering the adversity the team has faced in losing three frontline attacking players, Metuarau has been impressed with how other young less experienced performers have stepped into the breach.

Confounding the critics and going through the first six rounds unbeaten, keeping their blemish-free record intact proved a bridge too far when they were upended by the Magic last weekend, but the spirit and resolve in the Pulse camp remains upbeat ahead of Saturday’s Round 8 clash against the Steel in Invercargill.

``I suppose the wheels were going to fall off eventually, like they did at the weekend but there’s lots to be proud of and we won’t and can’t be dwelling on that loss,’’ Metuarau said.

``We have such a great group, an environment that you want to be a part of and it’s a key to the success that we’ve had.

``After their good win last weekend, it’s not going to be an easy game against the Steel but a lot of learnings have come out of our last game and as long as we can look after the ball, we’ll be fine.’’

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