6 Dec 2022

Silver Fern great Katrina Rore - passionate, loyal, dogged

7:23 am on 6 December 2022

Silver Fern great Katrina Rore wore her heart on her sleeve and fought for every Test cap she got across her international career.

Katrina Rore celebrating gold at the 2019 Netball World Cup in Liverpool

Katrina Rore celebrating gold at the 2019 Netball World Cup in Liverpool Photo: © SWpix.com (t/a Photography Hub Ltd)

The long-serving Silver Ferns' defender announced her international netball retirement a few days ago to focus on her young family.

A regular since making her debut in 2008, Rore, 35, won a Commonwealth Games gold medal in Delhi in 2010 and a World Cup in 2019.

She became just the seventh Silver Fern to register 100 international appearances, and ended as the fourth most capped New Zealand player of all time with 137 caps to her name.

After the birth of her first child in 2021, Rore had intended to resume her career with the Magic earlier this year before announcing her second pregnancy and welcoming a second daughter in September.

If anyone understands the highs and lows Rore has been through it's her former Pulse coach Yvette McCausland-Durie, who rode some of those same roller coasters.

McCausland-Durie first took charge of the Pulse in 2009, a year later Rore arrived and stayed for an incredible 11 seasons, captaining 10 of them.

Those first few years at the Pulse were tough for both with the perennial wooden spooners lucky to get one or two wins across a season.

McCausland-Durie left at the end of the 2011 campaign but came back for a second stint in 2017, with great success but there would be more disappointment to get through first.

In 2018 it looked for all money that the Pulse would finally lift the domestic title but the Southern Steel pipped them in the final after a stunning comeback.

Rore had also captained the Silver Ferns for two years during a tumultuous time, culminating in the team failing to medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Central Pulse captain Katrina Rore, Pulse Coach Yvette McCausland-Durie after 2020 grand final

Central Pulse captain Katrina Rore, Pulse Coach Yvette McCausland-Durie after 2020 grand final. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

McCausland-Durie was also the assistant Silver Ferns' coach at that time and said despite things crumbling around her, Rore never stopped performing.

"I think that was also that challenge of going back to why you do what you do. There were so many moments in 2018, including in that Comm Games where she actually played her best netball, she played some really outstanding netball, the defensive end they were number one in the whole competition defensively."

Dame Noeline Taurua was appointed the next Silver Ferns' coach and Rore was dropped from the side at the end of 2018.

"It gave her the ability to go 'you know what, the game's the game and I'm still who I am' and I think the chance to get some other perspectives on life, she had some study she finished up, she had recently gotten married. It just allows you to slowly work through that pain and she was in a lot of pain," McCausland-Durie said.

"And she just carried on, she didn't change, she just put her head down and did what she knows well and that's work harder."

McCausland-Durie said Rore had an ability to work like a trojan to put herself in the best possible shape.

"The change in her physique was just phenomenal from 2010 through to when she finished in 2020 with us, but even in 2021 coming back from having Lilybud (Rore's first child) she still was just incredible. The discipline, the food, everything - she was just disciplined about everything.

"From a fitness perspective she developed a huge ability just to have that kind of engine and that doggedness.

"Every week you knew what you were going to get and it was a constant work rate, it never left from the minute she started to the minute she finished and the fitter she got the harder she could work for a longer period."

Katrina Rore (nee Grant) reacting to 9-point loss to England at 2018 Commonwealth Games

Katrina Rore reacting to 9-point loss to England at 2018 Commonwealth Games. Photo: © Photosport Ltd 2018 www.photosport.nz

McCausland-Durie said as well as being consistent Rore was gutsy.

"If you needed something special she would find the courage because she had that ability also to play with a bit of risk.

"That willingness to go 'you know what I'm going for it' she's so competitive that she would go out and try something in those dying minutes to get a turnover and she had that ability to really know in-game when it mattered the most."

Dame Noeline said the way Rore responded to set backs was another thing that stood her apart.

After a stellar 2019 with the Pulse, Rore got named in the World Cup team to travel to Liverpool.

Dame Noeline remembers vividly the next challenge Rore had to overcome.

"Prior to the Netball World Cup she got a calf injury and usually that type of injury would take at least six weeks to mend and she was able to do that in three weeks. The commitment for her to get up during the night to make sure she was icing and doing what she needed," Dame Noeline said.

"It just showcased her character, her style and willingness to commit and do that 100 percent."

Dame Noeline said Rore's passion for the game was reflected in the way she played.

"That passion to win, she was tenacious out there and never gave up and the way she played the game was infectious, she would never let anything go whether you were winning or not."

Predominantly an in-circle defender throughout her career, Rore played an impressive hand from the largely unfamiliar wing defence position throughout the 2019 Netball World Cup campaign.

After the lows of 2018 Rore could not have dreamed of more triumphant 2019.

After captaining the Pulse to a maiden title, she helped the Silver Ferns win the Netball World Cup, and was also part of the NSW Swifts team which clinched the Australian domestic title.

Rore's loyalty to the Wellington based Pulse was never lost on McCausland-Durie.

"There were different opportunities to head off to other spaces and when you're not successful and you're working so hard sometimes that might be an easy out but she was incredibly loyal," McCausland-Durie said.

The franchise named its Player of the Year trophy after Rore at the end of last season in recognition of her and the loyalty that she had for the Pulse.

"She was fiercely loyal and I really enjoyed having her as a player who you could really look at extending. She would give really honest and immediate feedback, she had spent so much time in so many environments that she was constantly contributing."

Katrina Rore of the Pulse.

Katrina Rore had 11 years with the Pulse. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Rore was a player who wore her heart on her sleeve.

"She certainly got herself in trouble a few times in the earlier years with her exuberance on the court," McCausland-Durie laughs.

"We worked through that and saw some massive shifts in her ability to centre herself, go again and stay in control.

"But she was definitely passionate. She had that ability to be really calm but the highs were really joyous for her and when she was low she generally just quietly worked away at things."

Dame Noeline said Rore brought personality to the game.

"And as the years went on I think she was able to be true to herself, be confident in how she rolled," Dame Noeline said.

"But definitely was vocal and didn't shy away from the good times and the not so good times in what she felt and to have that personality in netball is something I think is really valuable for our game."

Dame Noeline said Rore ultimately achieved longevity in the black dress that not many players do.

"There's the saying, it's easier to get in but to be able to stay in is another story and I just think it's amazing and how she's been able to do it out on court as well is something to really celebrate, she'll be dearly missed on the international scene."

McCausland-Durie said it had been amazing watching her develop as a person as much as a player.

"And she's done everything - there wasn't anything left for her to prove."