Talented Australian defender Kelea Iongi and exciting young midcourt prospect Parris Petera round out the Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse playing roster for next year’s ANZ Premiership netball league.
With eight players already confirmed, Sydneysider Iongi, a former Australian U21 and U19 representative, and former Tactix player Petera, complete the team to play in yellow and black for the 2024 campaign.
An in-circle defender, Iongi, 23, has been a training partner with both the Swifts and Giants in Australia’s Super Netball League for the past few seasons and is vice-captain of the Tonga team heading to this month’s World Cup.
As the niece of former Diamonds standout defender Mo’onia Gerrard, Iongi has a strong netball pedigree and felt the time was right to spread her wings.
``I'm super keen to be able to join Pulse for the 2024 season and to be in a whole new environment,’’ she said.
``This is an important step in my career. I'm still young and keen to learn different skills and ways to play the game of netball. My main aim is to become a better athlete and to keep learning.
``I’m very excited to be able to work with a new playing group and coaching staff in a different country.
``I will definitely miss my family. This is my first time moving out of home and moving to another country is massive but my family are the most supportive people and I'm so blessed to have them on this journey with me.’’
Promising midcourter Petera, 20, is excited with the opportunity to return to her home Zone.
``I'm incredibly grateful to have the chance to join the Pulse,’’ she said.
``It's an amazing opportunity for me, especially considering that I'm originally from Hawke’s Bay and have spent a significant portion of my netball journey in the Central Zone. Being from Hawke’s Bay, Pulse had always been my No 1 team growing up and I have vivid memories of attending their games as a young girl.
``So now, the fact that I'm getting the opportunity to play for the team that I admired so much as a young netballer, feels quite surreal.
``The 2023 ANZP season was only my first year as a fully contracted player, so being able to receive another full contract for the upcoming season is a positive and certainly a step in the right direction.’’
Casting her net far and wide, Netball Central Director of High Performance Wai Taumaunu is delighted with the signings of Petera and Iongi to fill the gaps left by injured midcourter Ainsleyana Puleiata and defender Kristiana Manu’a who has returned to Australia to be with family.
``We are delighted to welcome Parris who is a product of the excellent work that Hawke’s Bay Netball have been doing in the performance space over the last few years,’’ Taumaunu said.
``Her arrival means we now have a player representative from all four of our main Centres. Parris brings with her the flair and feeding accuracy, and she will be a most welcome addition to our midcourt next season.
``Kelea is well known for her physical prowess and her great anticipation. She sought advice from Kristiana (Manu’a) when considering a move to Wellington, who told her in no uncertain terms to grab the opportunity. That advice was reinforced by her aunt Mo’onia Gerrard and we look forward to welcoming her at the Pulse.’’
2024 Pulse team:
Maddy Gordon, Fa’amu Ioane, Kelea Iongi, Kelly Jury, Parris Mason, Tiana Metuarau, Parris Petera, Whitney Souness, Amelia Walmsley, Khiarna Williams.
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