News from Central Pulse
In the face of change, shooter Cathrine Tuivaiti has so far blossomed, underlined by her recent appointment as vice-captain of the Central Pulse ahead of the ANZ Premiership netball competition.
There is an excited edge in the experienced campaigner’s voice as she talks about the big changes she’s made in recent months while looking to reignite her career.
Before moving to Wellington, Tuivaiti had been a foundation member of the Northern Mystics, playing over 100 games in the trans-Tasman competition during her nine years with the Auckland-based team.
Initially, there was a sense of trepidation but the sharp-shooting 30-year-old has taken to her new surrounds like a duck to the proverbial.
“I’m loving it……a little bit more than I thought I would, to be fair, with no disrespect to anyone. (The move) was just so foreign to me, I could have either loved it or hated it, so I’m glad I’m in the love area,’’ she said.
“It has been a huge change for me, to leave family and everything I’ve ever known for nine years to come down here and try and make it work. It’s amazing, the young ones are great and I love being under the watchful eye of some pretty amazing legends (coaching staff including Yvette McCausland-Durie, Sandra Edge, Irene van Dyk and Wai Taumaunu).
“It has been amazing and I didn’t realise how much I needed this until I got here. Everything feels right and I’m glad I did it.’’
Stalwart Katrina Grant will once again hold the captaincy reigns and along with Tuivaiti and import Sara Bayman, a former England captain, the Pulse has a strong leadership core.
Tuivaiti has experience in the vice-captaincy role after being Maria Tutaia’s deputy for two years at the Mystics but being the “new kid on the block’’ was surprised to get the nod at the Pulse.
She puts it down to her experience and lengthy time in the game which also includes 24 caps for the Silver Ferns. A colourful character with a keen sense of humour and a tendency to wear her heart on her sleeve, Tuivaiti has come into her new environment and instinctively scooped up the less experienced members of the team and taken them under her wing.
Head coach McCausland-Durie said Tuivaiti was not an automatic choice but had shown her strong leadership credentials when Grant was away on Silver Ferns duty, grabbing the opportunity and taking charge of the group with telling effect.
“There’s this perception out there about me of being really hard, forceful, mean and aggressive but people that do know me, know that I actually care a lot about the person,’’ Tuivaiti said. “I have already spent a lot of time, even before being named vice-captain, helping all the young ones come through and trying to push them to be better.
“That’s my nature and how I am, so whether I was given this title or not, I feel I would have done and said all the same things that I have been doing.’’
With a long pre-season of training under their belts, the team is itching to get more live on-court action, which will come in the form of the pre-season tournament at the Te Wānanga o Raukawa campus in Otaki this weekend (March 10-12).
All six ANZ Premiership teams will be present to launch New Zealand’s elite new era and Tuivaiti has one last challenge to overcome before the season-proper begins.
“It has felt like it’s been a couple of years since we’ve taken the court in real competition mode,’’ she said. “And obviously, I know in the back of my mind, our first game up (Friday) is against Mystics, so there’s going to be emotion in that.
“But I know what my job is, I know the choice that I made and I know where my heart lies this year and that’s with the Pulse.’’