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Pulse welcome Firebirds for two pre-season matches in Ōtaki

Pulse welcome Firebirds for two pre-season matches in Ōtaki

Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse will host the Queensland Firebirds in two pre-season netball matches in Ōtaki, north of Wellington, on February 7 – 9.

The two teams have forged a budding relationship after the Pulse played pre-season matches in Brisbane ahead of last year’s ANZ Premiership and will welcome the Firebirds to the Te Wānanga o Raukawa campus for two matches, training and the opportunity to engage in cultural activities.

``The Pulse are really excited to be able to provide this opportunity alongside our principal partner Te Wānanga o Raukawa in hosting the Firebirds,’’ Pulse CEO Fran Scholey said.

``It provides a great platform not only for our players and coaching staff to get valued court time prior to the start of the ANZ Premiership season, but also gives the opportunity for the Pulse to give back to our partners and members with an exclusive opportunity to see both teams play.

``The weekend is built on the expression of Manaakitanga (giving back and the connection with people) and allows for the Firebirds to experience our Māori culture.’’

Both teams will arrive in Ōtaki on Friday, February 7 before Saturday’s game which is open to Pulse members and invited guests only while Sunday’s match will be open to all-comers.

``The Sunday (9.30am) game will be available to the public and there are only 500 seats available in Ngā Purapura. If you are not a member then we encourage you to get in quickly,’’ Scholey said.  

The Firebirds will be at full-strength, including their four-pronged international quartet of Gabi Simpson and Gretel Tippett (Australia), Romelda Aiken (Jamaica) and Ine-Mari Venter (South Africa).

Firebirds coach Roselee Jencke has welcomed the opportunity to get some quality court time against a talented and different opponent while developing the team’s off-court relationships ahead of the start of the Australian league in May.

``As Premiers of the 2019 ANZ Championship, the Pulse have some experienced players who are also Silver Ferns, so this is a great opportunity for us to build our connections on court against such strong opposition,’’ she said.

``Pulse shooter, Ameliaranne played for the Firebirds from 2011-14 and built her career through the Netball Queensland pathway. As a coach, it is amazing to see how much she has matured and grown in her environment. Reconnecting with Meels (as she is affectionately known to us) will be a very special part of this trip.

``We are privileged to have been invited to experience some of the customs and traditions of the Māori culture. In Australia, we are taught very little about our own indigenous culture. This will help us reflect on our history and build a stronger awareness and sense of belonging for Jemma (Mi Mi) and our entire team.’’

As of the 2019 season, Firebirds midcourter Jemma Mi Mi was the only Indigenous athlete in the Australian Super Netball league.

To purchase tickets for the open Sunday game go to :

https://twor-pulse-vs-queensland-firebirds.lilregie.com/booking/attendees/new 

Pulse members will be sent email on details of the Saturday event. If you would like more information, please email events@netballcentral.co.nz