Full house welcome home for Pulse
July 29, 2020
Exchanging charter flights for a short jaunt up State Highway 1 has injected plenty of excitement for Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse ahead of their first home match of the 2020 ANZ Premiership netball league.
In front of a full house of 2500, the unbeaten Pulse will take on the Northern Mystics in Porirua on Sunday, the top-of-the-table clash adding extra spice.
``We’re just very, very excited, having travelled for the last six weeks and being able to finally not have to travel. Spending a little bit of time at home and sleeping in your own bed makes such a big difference,’’ Pulse defender Karin Burger said.
``And especially having our home crowd behind us, we know how good they are and how big they can be so, yeah, just really looking forward to it.’’
With the return to competition being played in a centralised location at the Auckland Netball Centre following the Covid-19 lockdown, the Pulse have had a punishing six weeks of travel, the condensed schedule also featuring a string of double-header weekends.
``It has been the only way we could play the competition,’’ Burger said. ``Having been in lockdown for so long and knowing what if feels like to not play, we were just all too happy to be on court. Yes, it has been a little taxing on the body and very tiring, but if that’s what it meant for us to be on court then we were willing to do it.’’
The defending champions have shown their depth of talent and resilience to remain unbeaten, the lure of home an ever-present beacon of growing anticipation. Marking the occasion in style in front of their faithful would be top of the wish list but there is also a cautionary note of not letting their guard down while enjoying the comforts of their own home.
The Mystics have plenty of firepower despite a couple of wobbles in recent weeks and the result should not be taken for granted. It will be the third clash between the pair, the Pulse having won the first two.
``We, surprisingly, had quite a lot of supporters for our matches up in Auckland but having it down here (Wellington) again with our home crowd, we know how supportive they are, how rowdy they can get and it’s really, really good when you’re playing knowing you’ve got that back from the crowd,’’ Burger said.
``We might be at the top of the table but it’s about every game that we put out we want to put out a quality game.
``Regardless of where we are on the ladder, we know that every team that comes and plays us brings it every time, so we need to make sure that we’re on our game and preparing ourselves the best we can for what we hope will lead to a place in the final, and every game leading there is an opportunity to do that.’’
Two of netball’s biggest fans, Minister for Sport and Recreation Grant Robertson and Speaker of the House Trevor Mallard will be on hand to welcome netball back to Te Rauparaha Arena.
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