INDEPENDENT NEWS

Long Wait Over For Patient Pulse Defender

Published: Thu 12 May 2022 02:45 PM
After a lengthy wait, defender Courtney Elliott couldn’t have picked a better match to finally take the court for Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse in the ANZ Premiership netball league.
For eight long rounds, the 1.8m defender, who can cover all three back-court positions, was consigned to the side-lines, before being given the all-clear to return from illness and take a full active part for the first time.
And that coincided with the Pulse producing a spectacular finish, after trailing for three-quarters of the match, to pocket a memorable win in Monday’s intense clash with the Southern Steel.
``Just the whole process and it being slower than what I anticipated has been a little bit hard, so it was good to finally be out there and actually be on the bench,’’ Elliott said.
It didn’t take long before Elliott, 23, was thrust into the thick of action when replacing an injured Paris Lokotui at wing defence in the opening minutes of the torrid outing with the Steel.
``It certainly wasn’t the way I wanted to go on but I was definitely excited and a little nervous,’’ she said. ``I felt a little bit lost at times but that’s probably down to not being able to play for a little while, so there was a bit of rust.
``It was a very intense game but what I liked was that we never thought we weren’t in it. We never bowed our heads and gave up, we kept pushing through and that was good.
``It was exciting to see the girls just really turn it on in the last quarter, drive it home, win by six and deny the bonus point, that was awesome.’’
Previously playing for the Northern Mystics (2020) and Southern Steel (2018 - 19), the former New Zealand Secondary Schools Player of the Year and Silver Ferns Development squad member was lining up a second year of plying her trade for the Northern Mendi Rays in the semi-professional Queensland State League when she got the call-up from the Pulse.
``I’m loving it here and I do like being back home, especially just in New Zealand and the different culture change,’’ she said.
``Just being amongst the girls and spending all that time, the relationships you build. I haven’t had it for a year and it’s been something I did miss. And it’s been awesome getting coached by Yvette (McCausland-Durie) and Wai (Taumaunu, specialist defence coach), that’s been great.
``I think we’re tracking really well. There’s a strong feeling that we’ve still got a lot of room to progress and build, it’s just cleaning up some areas so we can produce a 60-minute performance.
``It’s definitely my goal to get some more court time but I’m here to do what I can for our team, and however that comes, that’s what I’m going to do.’’
Meeting for the third time this season with the ledger all square at one win apiece, the Pulse and Stars will engage in the decider in Wellington on Sunday, in what is shaping as a must-win as the race for a spot in the Finals Series heats up.
``Home crowd advantage is always great,’’ Elliott said. ``We’ll put in the hard yards at training and take a look at what they do and what we can do better to really put out a decent performance.’’

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