Quick turnaround to new season no problem for eager Pulse players
December 1, 2018
The return of senior players ahead of schedule has set the tone at Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse well ahead of the first whistle being blown in next year’s ANZ Premiership netball competition.
The majority of the Pulse’s seven-strong international contingent reported for duty on November 19, the first day of pre-season training, despite the option of another two weeks leave following their Silver Ferns and FAST5 Ferns commitments.
With a Silver Ferns camp looming on December 10 and February’s early start to the 2019 domestic season due to next year’s Netball World Cup, there’s a sense of urgency with timing and preparation being key.
Under no pressure, the players found it an easy decision, the positive response welcomed by coach Yvette McCausland-Durie who otherwise would have been left with slim pickings for the opening two weeks of the pre-season before the full squad assembles on Monday.
``It says a number of things about them as people,’’ the coach said. ``For us, it’s really helped set the standard and that makes a big difference for everybody coming in.
``They’ve come in physically ready, they’re very clear about what they want to achieve this season, so the commitment for them to get here and start work together is really commendable. The intensity that they’ve set and the intent at which they’re driving people is massive.’’
The effect has been evident and provided a strong starting point with several players already hitting their testing targets for pre-season just two weeks in.
Making her Silver Ferns debut this year after a stellar season plying her trade in a new position, wing defence Karin Burger thrives on hard work and had no hesitation returning early.
``If you don’t stop you don’t have to start again, so you just keep going,’’ Burger said. ``If you love what you do, anything’s exciting and it’s great to be back.’’
``I just wanted to get some extra work in and be with the girls early,’’ midcourter Whitney Souness said. ``The longer we’re together will make things easier down the track and it’s also helping me prepare for the Silver Ferns camp coming up.
``Coming off winning the FAST5 World Series ended things off on a high and I’ve since had a few weeks off, so am feeling refreshed and ready to go again.’’
Following an influential season after finding a new home at centre, Claire Kersten was also ready to get stuck into the pre-season after a holiday in Japan.
``Having a few weeks of training under the belt before the Silver Ferns camp is definitely handy,’’ she said.
``We’ve known that it was going to be a tight turnaround between seasons and that we’d have to get into things quickly. We’ve all had a break and time to go away and recharge so it’s not a chore coming back in. It’s actually really nice being back training with people rather than just on my own.’’
Being part of a tightknit group and the lingering disappointment of this season’s Grand Final loss drew shooter Ameliaranne Ekenasio back to work early.
``None of us wanted to miss out on anything and we just wanted to get back into it because we enjoy being here. It’s a nice feeling to want to come back,’’ she said.
``Just how our last season ended also adds an edge. We’re definitely wanting to push more which is why I think we’ve all come back early. It feels like we’ve got some unfinished business so we’re all raring to go.’’
Captain Katrina Grant took time out for her wedding and will assemble with the rest of the team on Monday after returning from her honeymoon.
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