A fin­ger on the Pulse

Kapi-Mana News - - SPORT - By EMMA BEER

Cen­tral Pulse are sur­pris­ingly op­ti­mistic on the eve of the ANZ net­ball cham­pi­onship.

The 2011 competition got un­der way on the week­end and the Pulse have been look­ing for­ward to it, de­spite fin­ish­ing last or sec­ond-last for three years run­ning.

Coach Yvette Mc­Caus­land-Durie said the play­ers know their job.

‘‘We have to win matches,’’ she said.

‘‘We have to win more than one match. We want to gain the re­spect we feel we de­serve.’’

In a pre-sea­son mini-tour­na­ment in Queen­stown, the Pulse won their first three matches, then lost to Queens­land Fire­birds in the fi­nal.

Mc­Caus­land-Durie said the wins were ben­e­fi­cial to the team.

‘‘They’ve put in a lot of work since Novem­ber and are feel­ing good about go­ing into the competition,’’ she said.

‘‘The wins have given the team a bit of con­fi­dence and be­lief in our­selves.’’

Pulse cap­tain and Sil­ver Fern Ka­t­rina Grant said Queen­stown was good be­cause it showed the Pulse play­ers they could win games.

‘‘It proved we can win, that we do want to win,’’ she said.

Grant said there were a lot of close games last year that the team was not able to fin­ish. The Queen­stown re­sults turned this feel­ing around.

Since last sea­son the Pulse have lost cap­tain Jane Altschwa­ger, Ama Ag­beze, Paula Grif­fin and Jami­lah Gup­well, but have gained Am­ber Bell­ringer, Vic­to­ria Smith, Caitlin Th­waites and Jade Topia.

Im­por­tantly, they re­tained Sil­ver Fern mid-courter Camilla Lees.

Grant de­scribes her new team­mates as strong play­ers. She said some were new to the competition but were ex­cited about the chal­lenge.

‘‘Caitlin and Vic are top play­ers and have re­ally helped build our team up,’’ Grant said.

Mc­Caus­land-Durie said Grant’s in­ter­na­tional ex­pe­ri­ence was ben­e­fi­cial for the team, par­tic­u­larly her abil­ity to play un­der pres­sure.

There has been spec­u­la­tion in Welling­ton about what Grant might do when her two-year con­tract with the Pulse ends af­ter this sea­son, but she said she had not given the mat­ter much thought. ‘‘I love Welling­ton,’’ she said. ‘‘It’s a beau­ti­ful city, a great city, so I don’t re­ally want to leave.’’

Al­though the trans-Tas­man cham­pi­onship be­gan on Satur­day, the Pulse are not in ac­tion un­til Fe­bru­ary 19 when they play the North­ern Mys­tics, who boast five Sil­ver Ferns to the Pulse’s two, at Te Rau­paraha Arena – the Pulse’s new home turf.

Grant said there were a lot of tough teams full of ex­pe­ri­enced play­ers and that com­ing up against any of them was daunt­ing.

‘‘ We have al­ready won a few games, which is good though, but ev­ery game is go­ing to be tough.’’

Photo: DO­MIN­ION POST

Hopeful: Pulse cap­tain Ka­t­rina Grant hopes a promis­ing pre-sea­son form will trans­late into cham­pi­onship vic­to­ries.

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