Burger’s netball odyssey hits new realms
July 9, 2018
In a tale of resilience and perseverance, Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse midcourter Karin Burger is now living her netball dream after leaving South Africa as a teenager to pursue it.
Changing to a completely new position for this year’s ANZ Premiership is just another chapter and another challenge, of which there have been many, all tackled head-on with the best possible outcome in mind.
From the small town of Vredendal, three hours drive from Cape Town, in the Western Cape Province of South Africa, Burger made the bold decision to come to New Zealand straight out of school as an 18-year-old in 2012.
``In South Africa the opportunity to be a professional netballer isn’t that big,’’ she said. ``Netball was such a big part of my life, so I originally moved just to see what would happen and wasn’t planning on staying that long. But it started getting to a point where I felt I could achieve more and I wanted to achieve more.’’
After a long haul involving plenty of ups and downs, Burger finally gained her New Zealand residency earlier this year.
A tall in-circle defender, Burger originally plied her trade in Lower Hutt, where she lived with family who she hadn’t met before arriving. She later relocated to Wellington where she worked and went on to play her way through the representative grades.
``The supportive system in New Zealand, in terms of netball, is just amazing and has allowed me to climb up the ranks the way I did,’’ she said.
Player of the Year in the inaugural Beko Netball League in 2016, Burger was elevated to the Pulse last year, spending much of her time on the bench.
It’s been a different story in 2018 with her change from in-circle defender to wing defence. Very quick off the mark, tall for the position and robust, Burger has made an instant hit in the position to be a regular starter and can only get better.
``It’s been really awesome and the best part of it for me has been the learning,’’ she said. ``It was a bit daunting at the start of the season thinking I was going to play a completely new position, and yes, I’d maybe played it a couple of times before but playing it at this level is a completely different story.
``I’ve really enjoyed learning so much about the game and the new position, and think I’m starting to find my feet a little bit more. With more time there, I’m hoping to be able to put a bit more of my own flair to the position but for now it’s sticking to the basics.’’
An impressive athlete, Burger, 25, has been a Silver Ferns trialist for the past two years and has higher aspirations but for now it’s all about the Pulse’s next outing against the Tactix in Christchurch on Wednesday.
The table-topping Pulse have had a nine-day break between games to digest their loss to the Southern Steel and are keen for a quick bounce-back.
``I don’t feel like a quick or a long turnaround is going to make any difference to whether you’re going to win your next game,’’ Burger said. ``If you’re a good team you learn from what you’ve done and you do better, so I don’t think the turnaround, whether it’s long or short, makes any difference.
``The Tactix are fighters, they’ve had some good wins and they’re a great team with good players, so there’s no way you’d underestimate them.’’
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