``Flash Gordon’’ thriving in Pulse environment
March 28, 2019
With the opportunity to finally showcase her netballing credentials, effervescent teenaged Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse midcourter Maddy Gordon has found her niche in Wellington, after a frustrating lead-up.
In just her first season at ANZ Premiership level, Gordon was given her first serious minutes against the Southern Steel, her impact helping break the stalemate while keeping the Pulse’s unbeaten record intact.
More significantly, she did it from two different positions, spending eight minutes at wing attack, her least familiar position, and the closing nine minutes at centre.
Bubbly and personable, Gordon, 19, is always on the go, talking in the same manner as she plays, with energy, enthusiasm and knowing her own mind.
``I felt really comfortable and it was just great to get some good court time against a side like the Steel. It was so exciting,’’ she said.
Electric on the court with her speed, movement and all-round ability on defence and attack, it has been a whirlwind 15 months for the 1.74m bundle of energy.
``I originally just came down to play the Beko (Netball League) last year and then I got the call-up to be a Pulse training partner which I was definitely not expecting, so that was a cool surprise,’’ she said. ``And no, I was not thinking after that Beko season that I would be contracted. I thought it would take a couple more years so it was really exciting.
``It’s definitely a dream come true and well worth coming down here. It has been a really good move for me personally, both off and on court. From a playing perspective, I have just gained so much experience of everything with the players and coaches that are around me and everything has just gone so well.’’
Gordon grew up in Whangarei until Year 12 when she moved to Auckland as a 16-year-old to spend her final two years of school at Mt Albert Grammar. With no boarding facilities at the school, she spent two years as a home-stay student.
An all-rounder on the sports scene at school, Gordon was in the thick of all the action, excelling at netball, volleyball, athletics, cross-country and swimming.
Clear of mind and intent, it wasn’t a hard decision for Gordon to weigh up other options when leaving school.
``I had needed to leave Whangarei, so it was good to get those two years in Auckland but I just felt that I needed something a little bit more after finishing school,’’ she said. ``I wasn’t at my full potential, my netball was struggling to gain traction in Auckland and it felt I wasn’t going anywhere, so decided to move.
``I knew of Wellington’s coaching and everything, and they always beat us Auckland girls at representative level, so I thought it would be a good move to go down there. There are definitely no regrets, it’s been the best decision of my life.’’
Being able to play all three midcourt positions makes the versatile Gordon a more than useful asset, providing the Pulse coaching staff with options aplenty.
Wing attack is the latest position Gordon has added to her resume where she has been learning some of the finer detail around feeding, running lines and leading the centre pass attack.
``Wing attack is new to me but I feel like it’s becoming one of my favourites,’’ she said. ``I haven’t played it that often but I have been learning it this season and I love it.’’
Making the bold decision to head off to Wellington in her first year out of school held no concerns for Gordon’s parents.
Obviously, a player of potential, there seemed to be no opportunity for further development in Whangarei and her experiences in Auckland were not always happy ones.
``She was invited to trial in Wellington for the Beko team and they just loved her,’’ mum Carolyn Gordon said.
``That required making a quick decision and she chose Wellington. Maddy is very independent and since moving has just grown so much, she’s just loved being involved with all the personnel down there and considers them as one big family.
``She was a competitive swimmer but gave that away to play netball. From the age of five, it’s the sport she has always wanted to play. She has done this all on her own and I take my hat off to her for that. It was a great move for her.’’
During his cricket and rugby playing days, Gordon’s dad, David, was known as Flash, after the legendary adventure comic strip hero Flash Gordon, a name his daughter could soon be inheriting.
The Pulse will play the opening match of Super Sunday against the Tactix in Auckland this weekend. Shooter Aliyah Dunn suffered a shoulder sprain in the last round which may take a couple of weeks to heal fully but she will be available to play on Sunday.
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