Well-acquainted Pulse target new-look Mystics
February 22, 2019
With the hard graft done, Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse are ready to put their stake in the ground against the Northern Mystics in their ANZ Premiership netball opener in Hamilton on Sunday.
Covering off a physical, emotional and mentally-challenging pre-season, the Pulse, who have seven Silver Ferns in their mix, are well-prepped to meet both the external and internal expectations that they shoulder.
``I think it’s crucial to get away to a winning start,’’ Pulse coach Yvette McCausland-Durie said. ``And that’s the bit you get most nervous about because there’s no guarantees. Having a good start really sets the tone and in lots of ways gives you clarity and an affirmation for what you’ve done to date.
``The group’s realistic about the expectations they’ve set for themselves which are really high and the reality to live up to that would be outstanding. That’s been our driver, making sure we’ve learnt from previous seasons and that we’re a better team than we were the year before and that we’re a better team this week than we were last week.
``That idea of a mindset around growth and around personal challenge has been huge. We’re comfortable with the pressure.’’
In their favour against a new-look Mystics, the Pulse have the bonus of familiarity and a settled line-up with eight players from last year’s beaten finalists returning. With the short turnaround between seasons due to the Netball World Cup being staged later this year, this could be a decisive factor.
An unknown quantity, the Mystics have plenty to offer in the height stakes with tall timber in the form of shooter Kristina Brice and defender Erena Mikaere anchoring their respective ends. Australian import Brice, at 1.96m, is the equal tallest player in the league while the long-limbed Mikaere has returned home after four seasons in Australia.
``Tall players are going to feature in every game we play, so our strategy hasn’t really changed, we just need to ensure our execution is on point and be really decisive,’’ McCausland-Durie said. ``Sometimes we have been guilty of being a little indecisive, so it’s working on that and being ready to be responsible and own our own job.’’
There has been plenty of commentary, opinion and conjecture surrounding Pulse captain Katrina Rore’s omission from the Silver Ferns Northern Netball Quad Series in January but McCausland-Durie couldn’t have wished for a better response from her frontline defender.
``The effect for us, as a team, has been really positive,’’ she said. ``Katrina’s been involved with our whole pre-season, been able to add huge value in terms of her intensity and work ethic and I’ve been amazed at how she just continues to keep giving and growing. For someone who’s been around a really long time, that’s so focused about improving, is incredible.
``She’s just hugely professional in every manner and I’m looking forward to the season with her.’’
The Pulse will play the last of the three opening day matches in this year’s first instalment of Super Sunday.
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