Promising teenaged prospects Kimiora Poi and Mila Reuelu-Buchanan have been selected as Central Pulse training partners ahead of the 2017 ANZ Premiership netball competition.
On the back of impressive seasons in the inaugural Beko League competition, the teens have excelled in their first year out of school and now get the opportunity to rub shoulders with some of netball’s top players, including Katrina Grant, Cathrine Tuivaiti, Phoenix Karaka and Sara Bayman.
``We ran a trial to select training partners and they were both very excited with this opportunity,’’ Pulse coach Yvette McCausland-Durie said.
``It’s really important for us to help our players realise that they can make it by staying in their home zone. They’ve both developed hugely over this year and I think they will make the most of this opportunity.’’
Training partners are an important component for the 10-strong teams on several fronts heading into next year’s competition.
The additional players allow for more game-specific training sessions while also providing an opportunity to train up players who are considered strong prospects of moving through to the top ranks in the foreseeable future.
``It’s giving them a taste of what the semi-professional environment is like, they get paid for that period which is the front half of the season up until the competition start,’’ McCausland-Durie said.
The career paths of the midcourt pair have tracked a similar course, both were members of last year’s New Zealand Secondary Schools team, part of the winning Wellington under-19 team this year and foundation members of the successful Central Beko team which finished runners-up.
Both will line up in this week’s New Zealand under-21 trials from which the team for next year’s World Youth Cup will be selected.
A product of Napier Girls’ High School, Poi, 19, is leading the way in a resurgence of Hawke’s Bay netballing talent with several other promising youngsters following in her footsteps. She shifted to Wellington this year to attend university while also progressing her netball career.
Reuelu-Buchanan, 18, spent her formative years playing in the Kapi Mana competition before plying her trade out of Wellington East Girls’ College. She is also in her first year at university.
``The Beko League provides a stepping stone and for all of us, gives clarity of how these young players compete at a more senior level. It wasn’t always easy but they had a good season, building and improving as the competition progressed,’’ McCausland-Durie said.
``They are very deserving, they trialled really strongly, both have a good conditioning base and a high skill level.’’
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