19 Feb 2019

Netball: Pulse refuse to settle for second place

1:19 pm on 19 February 2019

The forever improving Central Pulse are using last year's ANZ Premiership grand final loss to the Southern Steel as motivation to win an inaugural title.

Central Pulse captain Katrina Rore

Central Pulse captain Katrina Rore Photo: Photosport Ltd 2018www.photosport.nz

It's a haunting memory etched into Pulse netball history.

Leading by 11 goals, to then go on to lose the ANZ Premiership final in the dying seconds to familiar foes the Southern Steel by a single point.

The result fired up the Wellington side and continues to do so who have gone on to win Nelson's Super Club tournament, before dominating the recent pre-season run in Otaki.

Head coach Yvette McCausland-Durie says she knows where they went wrong and has worked tirelessly over the Christmas season to rectify it.

"I was so proud of the group and the season and it just felt so empty not to win it - but that's sport," says McCausland-Durie

"The skill level was always there it was really down to the decisions we made under pressure. We aren't perfect yet, but we are making steps in the right direction.

"We had a great opportunity to play in Brisbane to make sure we had match play, it was important when we got the Ferns back and from a playing and team building perspective was really valuable."

The Pulse have made an impressive rise to the top of the New Zealand netball pecking order while retaining its core players this season (Mila Reuelu-Buchanan the only players who left for the Northern Stars).

As part of the trans-Tasman tournament the Pulse never made a series final let alone a grand-final, in fact, the best they did was fifth place out ten teams in 2013.

Central Pulse's coach Yvette McCausland-Durie seen speaking to her team

Central Pulse's coach Yvette McCausland-Durie seen speaking to her team Photo: © Copyright Photosport Ltd 2018 www.photosport.nz

Fast forward and the Pulse have made every grand-final since the inception of the Premiership in 2017, and are continuously hot favourites to win.

The Pulse now hold most of any Silver Ferns with seven players in the mix, two years ago captain Katrina Rore was the sole representative, and McCausland-Durie believes that comes down to selections both on the court and on the coach's panel especially in world cup year.

"We want more available at a Silver Ferns level, we've got no imports and we are committed to be a full New Zealand eligible team," says McCausland Durie

"It's hard to turn ten to seven... but the fact that we've created that internal competition will add value to them individually to help them get further honours,

"Sandra, Wai, myself and Palesa are working hard to create depth and capacity in supporting our BEKO development, players here in the region know that making the Pulse is a reality."

Captain Rore is running off a different cylinder following her heart-breaking Silver Ferns snub last year. The 31-year-old has made her intentions known early: Shine during the Premiership in the black and gold and recapture international selectors attention.

Former Silver Ferns captain Katrina Grant

Former Silver Ferns captain Katrina Grant Photo: Photosport Ltd 2018 www.photosport.nz

Rore admits the shock exclusion from the Silver Ferns at the end of last year made her re-evaluate her netball career, and while she is longing for a first domestic title under her belt, a world cup nod is still a priority.

"At the time it made me reassess what I wanted to do but I am really enjoying being here at the Pulse," says Rore

"Obviously I want to make the world cup side... after the December camp we all got feedback to work on to get back in there and my Pulse coaches are helping me with that,

"It's been your life for quite a while and it makes you wonder how much longer you go on for, but I've had a plan in place for a while now and I will keep going season by season."

The Central Pulse will face the Northern Mystics in round of the 2019 ANZ Premiership on February 24th.