Pulse boosted by return of Ekenasio
September 3, 2018
Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse have fended off outside interest to retain influential shooter Ameliaranne Ekenasio for the 2019 ANZ Premiership netball competition.
The elegant Ekenasio had a lengthy wait before getting her opportunities late in the piece this year, finishing with a flourish to clinch a spot in the Silver Ferns squad in the process and has now put a rollercoaster season behind her.
``Wellington is home for me,’’ she said. ``I’m definitely family based so that means I get to stay with my family which is good and I firmly believe in what we are trying to build here at the Pulse and across the Zone and that’s exciting.
``After such a rocky ride this season, I definitely had to look at all my options but after weighing everything up, feel I have made the right decision to stay put.’’
During a difficult season, Ekenasio showed her unselfish spirit to help guide and lend a hand to her internal teenage rivals Aliyah Dunn and Tiana Metuarau. That won’t change in 2019, the trio offering significant points of difference at the Pulse shooting end which is a good thing for all involved.
``This year anyone could have taken the court and done the exact same job,’’ Ekenasio said. ``That was huge for us because it made us highly competitive within the team which in turn helps you perform better, so keeping the same set of shooters is a real positive.’’
Coach Yvette McCausland-Durie is thrilled to have her senior shooter back.
``It’s been a really tough year for her in lots of ways but she’s actually come out the other side of it so much stronger and resilient, and a much better athlete at the end of it,’’ she said.
``The shooters know each other well and that just makes such a big difference when you’re trying to link with players and you actually know where each other’s going to be. Even when she wasn’t on the court this year, Ameliaranne still took responsibility as a leader and that says a huge amount about her.’’
Key performers for this year’s winning Central Beko Netball League team, midcourter Maddy Gordon and in-circle defender Elle Temu, complete the Pulse’s roster for 2019. Temu, who captained the successful team to back-to-back titles and the livewire Gordon, who scooped the MVP award in the Grand Final, were both part of the Pulse team at last month’s Super Club tournament.
``Our biggest objective has been about continuity,’’ McCausland-Durie said. ``From 2017 to 2018 five players returned, so that gave us a really good base and now we’ve got eight coming back.
``To have the opportunity to keep the group together was something that we had determined before the season started was going to be a really important factor. The challenge is that it’s been so successful that they’re popular everywhere but the fact that they’ve signed gives us really good confidence and continuity and that’s going to helps us build into 2019.’’
Pulse 2019: Karin Burger, Aliyah Dunn, Ameliaranne Ekenasio, Sulu Fitzpatrick, Maddy Gordon, Katrina Grant, Claire Kersten, Tiana Metuarau, Whitney Souness, Elle Temu.
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