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Stylish Pulse shooter keeps adding to her repertoire

Ameliaranne Ekenasio, right, with her Pulse shooting buddy Aliyah Dunn. Photo: Michael Bradley Photography

July 16, 2020

A majestic figure on the playing front, leadership is becoming an increasingly important component for Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse vice-captain Ameliaranne Ekenasio during a hectic ANZ Premiership netball league schedule.

Ekenasio’s consistency in all facets of play took her game to new levels during a defining 2019 which included a first title for the Pulse and a World Cup winner’s medal, providing the catalyst for the elegant goal attack with the spectacular high-arching shot, to keep adding to her all-round capability.

A key cog in the senior leadership team at the Pulse, Ekenasio, 29, got her first taste of captaincy at any level earlier this year and it was straight into the top job when leading the Silver Ferns to a clean sweep at the Nations Cup in England.

Despite the condensed nature of this season, Ekenasio has managed to find time to build on that particular skill-set, undertaking a leadership/mind power development course which involves a one-on-one mentoring programme.

``I feel my game has expanded quite a bit in recent times and I’m just taking on a little bit more in the senior leadership position that I’m in which is more than just thinking about my own game,’’ she said.

``It’s thinking about at what point do I have to take on different roles within the game. I’m finding that my agility to shift between just doing my own job and potentially helping out in different areas is still a learning journey……just having the ability to shift between knowing what’s needed at what point, I feel is growing me quite a lot as a player.’’

Sitting comfortably at the top of the table with a seven-point buffer, the Pulse are taking nothing for granted, constant travel and regular double-header rounds being an unpredictable factor as the season lengthens, the latest round evidence in providing some unexpected results.

``Complacency is probably our biggest risk,’’ Ekenasio said. ``Yes, we are at the top of the table and we would love to stay there but there’s no doubt other teams are learning very quickly and adapt as they go during the season, and that’s something we need to be better at doing as well.

``To be honest, I think it’s an awesome competition this year. As much as you love winning games by a lot, it’s actually really, really good to win tight games as well. You get so many more learnings out of a tight game than you do absolutely smashing teams, so I think what’s happening this year is really good for netball across New Zealand and not just our team.’’

Pushed all the way by the Steel before emerging with a three-goal win in the last round, the Pulse have it all in front of them this weekend when they meet the second-placed Northern Mystics on Saturday and the well-credentialled Tactix on Sunday.

``I think being pushed hard last weekend was a real positive thing for our team,’’ Ekenasio said.
 
``To be pushed at this point of the season is good in helping us find our legs and where we’re standing. If we’re pushed late in the season that’s potentially not the best place to be, so being pushed and seeing what we can still improve on still earlyish in the competition is only going to be good for us. As long as we’re learning from it, I think it’s a good thing.’’
 
First focus is on the Mystics who the Pulse beat by seven three weeks ago.
 
``Mystics have a really solid and tough defensive circle (Sulu Fitzpatrick and Phoenix Karaka), so we just don’t want to give them as much ball as we did last time,’’ Ekenasio said. ``They sit in a space where we want to play in and we ended up handing the ball over to them too many times so it’s a balance between taking the risk and knowing when not to.’’
 


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