|February 1, 2019 |
A suitably adorned double-decker bus and a spin around the world’s most famous roundabout held centre stage at today’s official launch for Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse ahead of the 2019 ANZ Premiership netball season.
Emblazoned with images of the team, the Pulse bus will feature prominently during the season, including transporting members to the Pulse’s first home game in Palmerston North on March 10 while also remaining in active service as it plies one of the main bus routes in Wellington city.
Completing today’s formalities, assembled guests and the team hopped on board to christen the eye-catching double-decker with an excursion around Wellington’s iconic Basin Reserve, which hosted today’s function.
Putting the seal on their formal start to the season, the Pulse were preparing to fly out to Brisbane later on Friday where they have three matches scheduled for the weekend against Queensland Fusion, who compete in the second tier Australian Netball League, and the Queensland under-19 team.
The team will be without Karin Burger, who could not get a visa done in time after being away on international duties, but welcome back fellow Silver Ferns Ameliaranne Ekenasio and Whitney Souness for the trip.
Coach Yvette McCausland-Durie is pleased to have near-enough to a full complement of players as the Pulse get their first real test as a team and doesn’t expect them to take long to adjust.
``They’ve been away playing netball, so the reality is they haven’t been away from the game, it’s just reconnecting,’’ she said. ``The fact that we’ve retained a big number of our group from last year means there hasn’t been a huge amount of change to adapt to.
``Being able to settle in with largely the same group who know the structures, procedures and systems makes a massive difference.’’
With an early start to the season, due to the Netball World Cup taking place in July, the Pulse have been in training since November and McCausland-Durie couldn’t be happier with how her charges are shaping up.
``I think the short turnaround (from last season) has really helped us from a conditioning perspective, there hasn’t been that lag,’’ she said. ``I also think we (Pulse) were really fortunate that we pretty much made up the FAST5 Ferns team, so they were training all the way through.
``They had a small break to take time away and freshen up but have come back fit and they’re settled in the sense of knowing the environment. We’ve added some new pieces, including changing positions for people, which has developed growth and made a big difference, so I’m really excited.
``This weekend offers a chance to get tested.’’
With the official pre-season tournament being held in Ōtaki the following weekend, which will feature all six ANZ Premiership teams, there were no concerns about getting Burger up to speed in time for the start of the season.
Karin Burger, Aliyah Dunn, Ameliaranne Ekenasio, Sulu Fitzpatrick, Maddy Gordon, Claire Kersten, Tiana Metuarau, Katrina Rore (nee Grant), Whitney Souness, Elle Temu. Coach: Yvette McCausland-Durie. Assistant coach: Sandra Edge.
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