Player happy to be back

Central Leader - - NEWS -

Jerome Hare­tuku has gone through the most trau­matic ex­pe­ri­ence of his soft­ball ca­reer and come out the other side.

The Marist soft­baller was axed from last year’s world cham­pion squad by coach Ed­die Kohlhase just days be­fore the March tour­na­ment.

But the young Auck­lan­der staked a claim for re-se­lec­tion into the Black Sox last month with new coach Mark Soren­son over­see­ing his first camp at the Tren­tham army base.

Hare­tuku was sen­sa­tion­ally dropped when cap­tain Rhys Casley ag­gra­vated a shoul­der in­jury and be­came a doubt­ful start for the event.

Kohlhase opted to bring in spe­cial­ist cover for his in­field po­si­tion and had to make room on the ros­ter for that new­comer.

Hare­tuku, 26, was sim­ply the wrong man in the wrong place at the wrong time, he says.

‘‘At the time, it was quite hard. My fo­cus went on to help­ing the team do what­ever had to be done to achieve our goal – to win the world ti­tle.

‘‘My job was to make sure the boys stayed fo­cused and help them wher­ever I could,’’ he says.

With many re­tire­ments from the team and only two years to groom re­place­ments, Hare­tuku is an im­me­di­ate con­tender for the Black Sox.

Hare­tuku says it will be a learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

‘‘Mark played for New Zealand as a teenager so he’s got years and years of ex­pe­ri­ence. It will be good to pick his brains and learn ev­ery­thing I can from him.’’

Gear­ing up: Jerome Hare­tuku is hun­gry to play soft­ball for New Zealand again.

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