Balancing the books all in a day’s work for Metuarau
June 22, 2018
Playing in the ANZ Premiership netball league has become as natural as going to school for talented teenaged Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse shooter Tiana Metuarau.
Metuarau has combined the dual challenges of being a schoolgirl and top-quality athlete with aplomb, and into her second year of elite level netball, continues to define her growing status in the game.
The high performance environment has been an ever-present part of her life, through the exploits of her well-known netballing mum Waimarama Taumaunu, and dad, George Metuarau, who has enjoyed significant coaching roles in both men’s and women’s sevens and 15-a-side rugby at international level.
However, it is easy to forget the younger Metuarau is still just a 17-year-old secondary school student. Called up to the Pulse last year as a replacement for the pregnant Ameliaranne Ekenasio, there’s been no looking back for the strong and powerfully-built athlete, who during her short time has impressed with her ability to take on the biggest of challenges and deliver.
``Since last year, I’m kind of used to it now. It’s just something that I’ve had to adapt to, especially when I was playing in the Beko Netball League in Year 11 and it’s a familiar lifestyle now,’’ she said.
Some juggling is still required to successfully merge her differing worlds, fewer subjects on the academic side making things easier to manage but school books and a laptop are a regular feature during the team’s road trips.
``In my second year at this level, I’ve learnt more and I’m more familiar with the competition and all the other teams,’’ she said. ``We have a really young attacking end, the shooting circle especially, and I feel as if I’m more experienced but still learning more and needing to learn more.’’
With her equally young and similarly understated off-sider Aliyah Dunn alongside her in the shooting circle, the dynamic duo has been the talk of the town this season. Silky-skilled wing attack Whitney Sounds rounds out a youthful but impressive attack line where having fun plays an important role.
``It’s a new team, it’s young and we spend a lot of time together off the court. We like to go to the movies and do some fun stuff like bowling,’’ Metuarau said.
``Because Aliyah and I have played together for a couple of years now (NZU21), we’ve gelled together really well. With Whit (Souness) we grew our combination together last year and it was quite easy to just bring Aliyah into it, especially during the pre-season when we had a lot of time to work together.
``It’s not the end of the world if something goes wrong and that’s a good thing to have. There’s no pressure in that regard, we play with good flow down our end and we trust each other’s skills to do what we need to do.’’
The Pulse meet the Northern Stars in Porirua on Monday in a top versus bottom clash featuring the two best attacking teams in the competition, so a high-scoring bonanza could be on the cards.
``I think it will be quite a hard game,’’ Metuarau said. ``It’ll be physical and fast……they play a really fast game. It will be a completely different team to who we played at pre-season and all the teams have improved immensely throughout the competition so far, so we’ll just have to work really hard on Monday night.’’
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