Crinums con­fi­dent ahead of ti­tle de­fence

The New Age (Gauteng) - - SPORT 14 - SITHEMBISO DINDI sithem­bisod@the­newage.co.za

FREE State Crinums’ as­sis­tant cap­tain Alicia Puren does not be­lieve their dom­i­nance in the Bru­tal Fruit Net­ball Pre­mier League is un­der any threat.

How­ever, Crinums be­gin their mis­sion to win their fourth Pre­mier League ti­tle in a row with­out some of the play­ers who have been key per­form­ers over the past three sea­sons.

Crinums start the sea­son against three times run­ners-up Gaut­eng Jaguars to­mor­row at the Dur­ban Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy.

The Burta de Kock-coached side are the only out­fit to have won the tour­na­ment since its in­cep­tion.

Lau­ren-Lee Christians and Karla Mostert were among the out­stand­ing per­form­ers for the side but won’t be in the team this sea­son.

While Mostert is rais­ing the South African flag high in Aus­tralia, Christians will turn out in the colours of East­ern Cape Aloes this sea­son.

Puren ad­mits that the play­ers will be missed but is con­fi­dent Crinums will con­tinue to do well.

“Lau­ren-Lee went to Aloes and she will make that team bet­ter and Karla went to Aus­tralia. We have lost a few play­ers but we have young­sters who want to come up and fill those big shoes,” Puren said.

“At Crinums we are not re­ally a team but more of a fam­ily and that’s how we stay suc­cess­ful. I don’t know how it is like with other teams but that’s what keeps us go­ing strong at Crinums.

“We still have enough ex­pe­ri­ence in our squad, with our cap­tain Maryka Holtzhausen back from in­jury as well, so it’s go­ing to be an amaz­ing jour­ney for us this sea­son.

“If we had lost her too it was go­ing to be a dif­fer­ent story be­cause of her lead­er­ship qual­i­ties. She is such an in­spi­ra­tion to the whole team and we fight all the way for her.”

Though the 22-year-old goal­keeper is con­fi­dent the team can de­fend their ti­tle, she ac­knowl­edges it will still take a lot of hard work as it has never been a walk in the park be­fore.

“I think this year the com­pe­ti­tion will be tougher com­pared to the past three sea­sons be­cause of the New Zealand trip ahead.

“But we have the ex­pe­ri­ence, we have won the ti­tle three times in a row so we know how to de­fend it.”

PIC­TURE: GALLO IM­AGES

NEW OUT­FIT: East­ern Cape Aloes player Lau­ren-Lee Christians.

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