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Ainsleyana Puleiata's season has been cut short

Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse midcourter Ainsleyana Puleiata's season has been cut short barely four weeks into the ANZ Premiership.

In an all-too-familiar scenario, the 22-year-old has been sidelined with another serious knee injury, and faces surgery and yet another long rehabilitation haul.

Playing for the Pulse's sister team Manawa against the Tactix in the Synergy Hair National Netball League last Sunday, Puleiata ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee. 

It's her third ACL rupture in six years - the other two were both on the left knee, the first in 2017 playing rugby sevens, the second in 2019, playing netball.

"I was sort of hoping to stay away from the anterior cruciate," a resigned Puleiata said after scans on Friday confirmed the injury, as well as medial collateral ligament tear with a lateral meniscus tear.

"It feels like two steps forward, five steps back at the moment. But I've been through it before, I know what I have to do,and I've got great support around me from the girls and the Pulse."

Coach Yvette McCausland-Durie said the versatile Puleiata's loss was a hit for the team, as they manage an injury load which also includes defenders Parris Mason and Kristiana Manu'a.

"But she knows what she has to do, and she'll be focused and working hard to get back to where she needs to be."

The Pulse face a challenging double-header this weekend, first up tackling the Magic at Te Rauparaha Arena in Porirua on Sunday afternoon then the Mystics at the same venue on Monday evening.

McCausland-Durie has had to do some quick thinking to manage the load her players face in that short time. She's brought in Manawa defender Jazz Scott, and will also call on former Pulse captain Katrina Rore for short-term cover off the bench.

Rore played two weeks ago for the Northern Stars, brought in as a one-off replacement for an ill Elle Temu, and taking the court in the second half of the Stars' 59-51 win over the Pulse.