Wellington Scoop

Promising teens get nod as Pulse training partners

News from Central Pulse
The potential of talented teens Elle Temu and Ainsleyana Puleiata has been highlighted following their selection as Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse training partners ahead of the 2018 ANZ Premiership netball competition.

Becoming a training partner is a key component for players who are considered strong prospects of moving through to the top ranks in the foreseeable future and is an integral part of the Netball Central high performance programme. Both youngsters come armed with impressive pedigrees at this stage of their careers.

Former New Zealand Secondary School player, Temu, 19, a 1.89m in-circle defender, will make the move from Auckland to the Capital to further her netball career in 2018. In the first year of a double degree in Business and Sport & Recreation, Temu played for the Marvels in this year’s Beko Netball League and is a product of Mount Albert Grammar School which has proved a fruitful nursery for budding netball talent over the years.

“It was a big decision and I’m still trying to get my head around it because it all happened so quickly but it’s very exciting,” Temu said. “To get offered a training partner role, that’s obviously a big step towards my aim of playing in the ANZ Premiership, so I had to take it, couldn’t turn it down.”

Temu is particularly looking forward to rubbing shoulders with and learning from the likes of experienced defenders Katrina Grant and Sulu Fitzpatrick.

“They’re players I have looked up to while growing up,” she said. “It’s going to be awesome to be amongst that and just being with a different group of people.”

Ensconced in another netballing stronghold at St Mary’s College in Wellington, dynamic midcourter Puleiata, 17, who also excels at rugby, captained the New Zealand Secondary Schools team this year while being named Player of the Year at this year’s national championships.

Quick and agile, Puleiata played in Central’s title-winning Beko team this year, her on-court speed and natural flair being hallmarks of her game. She will be back at St Mary’s for her final year of school in 2018.

“Elle and Ainsleyana reflected our ambitions of wanting to grow some strength in the defensive circle and also to develop depth at wing attack,” Netball Central High Performance Director Waimarama Taumaunu said. “They were both standouts in those areas.”

Committed to developing young talent, Netball Central is hoping to emulate the success of this year’s training partners, Kimiora Poi and Mila Reuelu-Buchanan, the pair having a year to savour. The midcourt duo were key figures in Central’s unbeaten run to the Beko League title, helped the New Zealand under-21 team win the World Youth Cup and both have since gone on to secure full ANZ Premiership contracts for 2018.

“We have tried really hard to embed the training partners into our programme and make them a tangible and relevant link between the Pulse and the Beko team,” Taumaunu said. “We did that well with Mila and Kimi and it’s our intention to do that again next year.”

Temu and Puleiata will train with the Pulse throughout the pre-season before lining up for Central in the Beko League.

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