Looking to enhance her netball, a change of team and city to suit up in the yellow and black of Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse has been an easy fit for midcourt recruit Fa’amu Ioane.
Born in Samoa and moving to Auckland as an eight-year-old, the hard-working and tenacious wing defence, who has previously plied her ANZ Premiership trade with the Northern Mystics and Stars, decided she needed a complete refresh as her career showed signs of stalling.
The changes, both personal and netball-wise, have come thick and fast for the former World Youth Cup winner. Ioane announced her engagement during the pre-season while also setting up house in Wellington with Pulse team-mate Joyce Mvula and Central Manawa’s Kelston Reynolds.
On the business side of things, she’s having to refine her game and adapt to a new style. But there have been no misgivings and Ioane is relishing the new challenges.
``Moving to the Pulse has definitely lived up to expectations,’’ she said. ``Training here has been tough and hard but I’ve really enjoyed it and the culture’s really nice down here as well. I’m definitely enjoying the change of environment and people.
``I needed a change of scenery and just being away from what I’ve always known because I’ve been up in Auckland basically my whole life, so for me I just needed that change, different coaching and being around different people.
``My main goal coming down here was just to learn and add a different and new range of skills to my game.’’
The Pulse generally set themselves apart from the other teams in New Zealand with their man-on-man defensive style which is taxing physically and takes some getting used to.
``It’s definitely taken a little bit more time for me to settle in to that style,’’ Ioane said. ``It’s hard playing man-on. I’m not used to it because I haven’t played that style for a long time, so trying to get used to it has been hard and it’s just going to take a little bit of time.’’
The Pulse will meet the Southern Steel in Wellington on Saturday, both teams coming in with plenty to prove after their opening round matches.
Posting a narrow one-goal win in their opener, the Pulse delivered the perfect example of a game of two halves, a strong and positive first half followed by a faltering second while an injury-depleted Steel suffered a heavy loss.
``I think the main plan for us, is to just be consistent at what we’re good at, sticking to our game plan and knowing if they have a run on us, what we need to do to counter that. That cost us a bit last week and we just need to be able to adapt if that happens,’’ Ioane said.
Pulse coach Yvette McCausland-Durie couldn’t be happier with the progress Ioane’s made so far.
``I thought Fa’amu’s debut game was outstanding,’’ she said. ``It was the most consistent I’ve seen from her throughout our whole pre-season. She’s worked so hard but slotted in really well to the strategy and executed what we’d asked of her.
``The bits I was really impressed with was her tracking and her through-court attack, she really helped us out on attack and got really good depth.
``We want to keep working on her game rate but she’s slotted in well and she’s a great character.’’
A positive result against the Steel would be the icing on the cake for Ioane, who turns 27 on match day.
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