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Young Pulse defender making all the right moves

Pulse defender Elle Temu has been putting in the hard yards behind the scenes during the Covid-19 lockdown. Photo: Adrian Watkins

May 6, 2020

Feeling as if she’s just completed a mini pre-season camp, rising young Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse netball defender Elle Temu has her mum to thank after discovering the joys of training during lockdown.

Struggling to choose between her partner’s or parents bubble when the Covid-19 lockdown came into force, Temu’s mum Rachael stepped in and opined that with a restart to the ANZ Premiership season in mind, the way to go was with her New Zealand Warriors rugby league playing partner Isaiah Papali’l.

And despite waving a tearful goodbye to Papali’l on Sunday as the Warriors left for Australia and the prospect of the NRL restarting in late May, Temu has embraced plenty of valuable lessons during four weeks of intense cross-code trainings.

``I’ve learnt that I can actually stick to training schedules which has definitely rubbed off from Isaiah because he’s a really good trainer and a very hard worker,’’ she said. ``Just being with him all the time, I’d do what he was doing which involved constant pointers such as, `stretch more, eat better’, etc, etc.

``That has been revealing and reinforced that I can do stuff, and have that self-control to eat properly and go and do a training session even though I don’t want to. I know my body can certainly do it, it’s just been in my head that I can’t and it’s been a great learning.

``We trained every day together and it was probably the best thing for me, to be with him. I had been struggling to decide whether to be with my parents but mum had the foresight to say my training would be better with Isaiah and being in his bubble was the better option. And honestly, now I’m feeling really good and just bursting to get going.’’

With Papali’l’s departure, Temu, who is one of four sisters, is now getting the best of both worlds, back at home with mum, dad, Jason and younger sisters Brooklyn and Summer.

``It was a weird goodbye because we don’t know when we’re going to see each other again,’’ she said.

``It was tough after spending the previous five weeks constantly together. Everyone just wants to get back into playing and he is no different. He was sad but couldn’t wait to get on the plane and hopefully be playing sometime soon.

``Being with my sisters 24/7 is quite interesting. We haven’t been together this much for a long time, so I’m enjoying it and it’s good to have them as training buddies as well.’’

Learning her craft at Mount Albert Grammar School where she made a career-enhancing shift from the shooting end to the defensive end of the court, a subsequent shift of cities has also proved a defining choice in Temu’s netballing fortunes.

The displaced Aucklander first moved to Wellington to play for Central Manawa in the 2018 Beko Netball League from where things have quickly escalated for Temu, 20, who is in her second year as a Pulse player.

Pulse coach Yvette McCausland-Durie is delighted with how the 1.88m Temu has been occupying her time.

``The challenge for her is not a skill set, her challenge was actually about her belief,’’ the coach said.

``She’s still got room to keep growing, and that’s both a positional and an individual piece. She’s got a fantastic pass, she’s got a really good lean, her general awareness on attack and defence is high, so she reads the game really well and as a team member, she’s just so energetic and positive and is a great person to have around that space.’’


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