Older and wiser, Fern gets a se­cond chance

Bay of Plenty Times - - SPORT - Sulu Fitz­patrick

Pulse de­fender Sulu Fitz­patrick has been re­called to the Sil­ver Ferns squad af­ter seven long years, with the de­fender say­ing she will make her se­cond shot count.

The 26-year-old made her de­but for the Sil­ver Ferns in 2011 against Eng­land, but ad­mit­ted she took her se­lec­tion for granted.

“I think I was very blessed to get that op­por­tu­nity so early, but I think my­self men­tally I wasn’t quite there,” said Fitz­patrick.

“So I def­i­nitely took it for granted and re­ally didn’t re­alise that the amount of sup­port I had back­ing me to take that op­por­tu­nity and wasted it.”

She spoke to re­porters af­ter be­ing named on Thurs­day, say­ing she has gained a lot more ex­pe­ri­ence since her de­but.

“I feel old, I def­i­nitely feel a lot more set­tled,” she said.

“As you get older, you get a bit more per­spec­tive. But I think, for me, I needed time.”

Sil­ver Ferns coach Noe­line Tau­rua said Fitz­patrick has a solid com­bi­na­tion with Ka­t­rina Grant in the ANZ Pre­mier­ship with the Pulse.

“The se­lec­tion of Sulu Fitz­patrick pro­vides us with an­other op­tion in cir­cle de­fence,” said Tau­rua.

“Also she has the value of work­ing closely with Ka­t­rina Grant at Pulse and that will be of value to us in the Sil­ver Ferns.”

The Sil­ver Ferns’ Con­stel­la­tion Cup opener is in at the Bris­bane En­ter­tain­ment Cen­tre against the Aus­tralian Di­a­monds from 3pm to­mor­row.

Mo­tor­sport

Af­ter NZME broke the news that Sky TV is set to lose For­mula 1 mo­tor­sport rights, a num­ber of fans took to so­cial me­dia to ex­press their hopes that the of­fi­cial F1 app will be re­leased here.

NZME un­der­stands fall­ing au­di­ence num­bers for F1 races, in part pinned on start times shift­ing to the early-hours New Zealand time, meant Sky was un­will­ing to make a com­pet­i­tive bid to re­new rights. It is not yet known who will pick up the rights but there is an in­di­ca­tion of the ball­park cost.

In Au­gust 2014, Coli­seum Sports Me­dia boss Tim Martin said his com­pany had made a $6 mil­lion bid for four years’ F1 rights for New Zealand. Coli­seum was trumped by Sky. Two months later, Coli­seum, which then held English Pre­mier League and US and Euro­pean golf rights, would form its short-lived Light­box Sport joint ven­ture with Spark.

Spark, which re­cently re­gained Pre­mier League rights for three years from the 2019/2020 sea­son and the Rugby World Cup 2019, could be in the frame for For­mula 1. Its man­ag­ing direc­tor, Si­mon Mout­ter, has pre­vi­ously said rugby is not enough; a port­fo­lio of topflight sports is re­quired for his com­pany to be a se­ri­ous con­tent con­tender.

But on Twit­ter on Thurs­day night, some F1 fans were also hop­ing Sky’s loss of rights could see the of­fi­cial F1 app avail­able here (cur­rently For­mula One owner Lib­erty Me­dia geo-blocks its app to Ki­wis — or at least its live race cov­er­age com­po­nent).

Lib­erty launched its com­mer­cial-free F1 TV app in March, al­low­ing F1 fans in the US, France, Ger­many and a num­ber of other coun­tries to watch races live for US$12 ($18.50) a month. A cheaper, non-geoblocked ver­sion of­fers his­toric races, be­hind-thescenes footage and other frills.

F1 could sell lo­cal rights to Spark (for ar­gu­ments sake) then also sell its app here for a higher rate than Spark’s F1 stream for those who want the whole en­chi­lada — on­board cams, race data, be­hind-the-scenes stuff etc.

But even if F1 TV does not end up be­ing made avail­able to New Zealan­ders for the next F1 sea­son, the rise of di­rect-to-the-viewer apps re­mains a po­tent threat to old-school mid­dle-men like pay TV broad­cast­ers.

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