Options broaden with Souness in the Pulse mix
April 8, 2021
An eye-catching return to goal attack for Whitney Souness at the Te Wānanga o Raukawa pre-season netball tournament has provided plenty of playful banter between the protagonist and Pulse assistant coach Pelesa Semu.
Thin on shooting numbers with captain Ameliaranne Ekenasio, the team’s key cog at goal attack, being rested for the tournament in Ōtaki two weeks ago, the twinkle-toed Souness seamlessly slipped across court from her more accustomed wing attack role to showcase her dazzling array of skills in another guise.
Not seen under the hoop since her school days where there was an abundance of shooters, her college coach at the time, Semu, decided the midcourt was the right calling for the little play-maker.
Semu has been proven right on that count with Silver Fern Souness now one of the leading lights in the country from the pivot’s position but also showing she could create the same pizzazz from the shooting role.
Blessed with large doses of creativity, flair, speed and movement, Souness, 25, has, however, kept her feet firmly on the ground, happy to help the team out in whatever capacity needed but doesn’t see a long-term switch as a viable option.
``Because I hadn’t played there for a long time, I just wanted to do a good job with my other shooters,’’ she said.
``It was a bit nerve-wracking to start with but ended up quite exciting after just going in with the mindset that I didn’t have anything to lose, gave it my all, hoped that it was good enough and I could do half as good a job as the other shooters.
``I stopped playing shooter when I was at college. It’s funny because Pelesa, who was our coach at school, actually moved me from shooter into the midcourt, so I was really glad that she did otherwise I’d probably still be a shooter and not get to experience all I have as a midcourter.
``Maybe it’s an option (in the future as a fill-in), a really last resort but it’s cool to know that I can play there still and offer something different while having some fun as well.’’
Born and raised in Porirua, Souness had played all her netball out of Wellington before spending last season with Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic.
``I’m loving being back at the Pulse, as well as just being back at home and close to family,’’ she said.
``Going to the Magic was all about having a change, just to challenge myself and see how I would be in a different environment because I’ve been in Porirua my whole life really playing netball.
``It was a now or never situation, so I went with my gut which involved trying something new. I got to experience life somewhere else away from my family and definitely grew during that time but now I’m glad to be home.’’
Without Ekenasio on deck at the pre-season tournament, Souness feels the rest of the line-up stepped up admirably and that the Pulse are heading in the right direction ahead of their season-opener against the Northern Stars on April 18.
``I feel it’s pretty even across all the teams this season,’’ she said. ``There’s been a lot of changes with player movement to different teams but we’ve got a good thing going here. It’s the start of a new team for us and it’s going to be exciting to see how it all fits and what we can do.’’
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