Broughton’s high hopes

Kapi-Mana News - - SPORT - By AMY JACK­MAN

Three years ago Cen­tral Pulse net­ball fans had no hope, but now coach Robyn Broughton says the team has what it takes to make the play­offs.

The Pulse open their ASB Cham­pi­onship cam­paign against the Ade­laide Thun­der­birds at Te Rau­paraha Arena in Porirua on March 3, at 7.40pm.

In the re­cent pre-sea­son Sum­mer Shootout tour­na­ment in Mel­bourne, the Pulse won five out of seven games.

Broughton said the shootout gave the team a good lead in to their first game.

‘‘Al­though it was hot and pretty hard go­ing, we played all the Aus­tralian teams,’’ she said.

‘‘They have a dif­fer­ent style to us and play man on. We found it very use­ful for our own game plan and it gave us a good run in to Ade­laide.

‘‘They have a strong shoot­ing cir­cle, but we have good de­fence so that should be fine. Their mid­court is sim­i­lar to ours, so that should be a good bat­tle.

‘‘But they will be analysing us just like we are look­ing at them.’’

This year the Pulse are look­ing like one of the strong­est New Zealand teams. They had more play­ers in the Sil­ver Ferns squad that toured Eng­land in Jan­uary than any other New Zealand side.

Broughton said the team was fo­cus­ing on short term goals, but mak­ing the play­offs was achiev­able.

‘‘We just missed [get­ting into the top four] by a whisker last year,’’ she said.

‘‘We’re go­ing to take each game as it comes and work hard, be­cause noth­ing is go­ing to be easy.

‘‘Long term we want to make the top four and then con­tinue to work from there,’’ Broughton said.

To make the top four the team has to win games, which they never got near un­til Broughton was the coach.

‘‘When I first came here, the team and city was ac­cept­ing of where they were,’’ Broughton said.

‘‘That’s not the way I coach and that’s not the way my play­ers are. I have high ex­pec­ta­tions of my­self to put the team to­gether as a coach and I think the girls have high ex­pec­ta­tions of their abil­i­ties, and so they should.

‘‘Win­ning isn’t ev­ery­thing, but it sure beats com­ing sec­ond.’’

The Pulse have lots of star power, but Broughton said that did not make a win­ning team.

‘‘It’s the old adage re­ally – a team of cham­pi­ons doesn’t make a cham­pion team.

‘‘It’s up to all of us, coaches and play­ers, to get the right struc­ture out there so we are com­ple­ment­ing one an­other and we know what we are do­ing.

‘‘When you get new people you have to learn the body lan­guage, an­gles, where to place the ball for them, how much they can move in the air. Those lit­tle things be­come re­ally im­por­tant.’’

Open­ing num­ber: The Cen­tral Pulse will face off against the Ade­laide Thun­der­birds in their first match of the sea­son next week. Pic­tured: Pulse’s Te Huinga Reo Selby-Rickit, left, and Ade­laide Thun­der­birds’ Erin Bell.

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