Second isn't good enough for Broughton

HAMISH BIDWELL
Last updated 05:00 27/02/2014

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Processes are not the pre-occupation at the Central Pulse.

Sure, they'll need to execute certain fundamentals to succeed in the trans-Tasman Netball League this year.

But coach Robyn Broughton is not the type to shy away from talking about outcomes.

"All of us want to do well. Yeah, I talk about winning, but I don't go hysterical about it," Broughton said.

The modern thinking is that coaches shouldn't even mention winning. It puts too much pressure on the players, apparently.

"No, no, no. I talk about winning. Winning sure as heck beats coming second, doesn't it?" said Broughton.

Winning is something many think the Pulse ought to do plenty of this season. They won eight of their 13 games last year and shouldn't shy away from wanting 10 or more this time round.

In the form of Irene van Dyk, Donna Wilkins and Joline Henry, the Pulse have proven winners. Liana Leota is another, provided the impending birth of her third child goes well and she's fit to play at some stage.

Katrina Grant, Millie Lees and Te Huinga Reo Selby-Rickit have tasted success on the international stage and it's time to do the same at this level.

It won't just happen, though.

"The girls want to do well and people say to me, ‘oh, you've got a wonderful team' and ‘oh, it's going to be all wonderful', but I don't think anyone realises how much goes on to make it a wonderful team. It's not just on the court," Broughton said.

But Broughton is sure this Pulse team is ready to do more than just try hard and hope for the best.

"No, there's a real determination, a dogged sort of feel."

That's important. The Pulse begin their season by meeting defending champions the Adelaide Thunderbirds at Te Rauparaha Arena, in Porirua, on Monday night.

Past Pulse squads were beaten before they took the court against opposition of that calibre, but this lot aren't easily intimidated.

"I would hope not. They should have the self-esteem and knowledge of their own skills and be confident in the game plan," Broughton said.

Most of Monday night's starting lineup picks itself. Leota's vacant spot at wing attack is probably the only one up for grabs, with Elias Shadrock likely to take it.

Among the many things that Broughton has tried to address in her two-year tenure at the Pulse, is the issue of ruthlessness. She's attracted decent players and made the franchise competitive, but Broughton knows this squad still has one thing holding it back.

"We just need to protect a lead. We seem to let one mistake lead to another and that's about learning to win, being hard-nosed.

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"Everyone has to be on the same page when you have a lead. You protect for a bit, then you put your foot down so you make the other team feel unsure and put doubt in their heads. Instead of that, we seem to put doubt in our heads that we can keep it."

Rectify that and the Pulse will do more than just talk about winning this year.

- The Dominion Post

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