Central Pulse are shooting for the top
A new coach and four Silver Ferns might be the boost Central Pulse need to get their rhythm back for this year's ANZ Championship.
Pre-season matches begin this weekend with the Wellington- based team meeting the Adelaide Thunderbirds in Tauranga on Friday night.
The Pulse have welcomed experienced coach Robyn Broughton, who replaced Yvette McCausland-Durie.
Broughton was previously the long-time coach of the Southern Sting and the Southern Steel.
She said she was excited about her move to Wellington.
"This is a breath of fresh air," she said. "I'm really excited.
"I've really enjoyed the girls, and having Paula [Griffin] and Joline [Henry] next door has made it a lot easier. I'm not on my own."
Henry, the vice-capitan, joined the Pulse from the Northern Mystics.
Silver Ferns shooter Griffin has rejoined the Pulse, after playing for the Southern Steel last season.
Broughton, Henry and Griffin all live in the same city apartment building.
"Each year's different," Griffen said. "You have to re-evaluate where you're at. [Last year] I weighed up all the positives and negatives when the Steel and the Pulse had offered and felt the Steel was better for my game, and for the next step of my career."
The offer to return to Wellington was too good to refuse, she said.
"It's tough being away from home [in Auckland]. I like to play closer to home."
She said the new look of Pulse also appealed.
"I loved Wellington last time I came down and Rob was a bonus in that, too."
Broughton said with netball becoming more professional, players moving around was not unusual.
"They have to assess what's good for them and where they are. There will always be these changes now, like rugby.
Griffin said the Pulse were aiming high.
"We have to be confident going in. We take each year as a fresh new year.
"We will be setting goals together soon, and our aim is to get to the top four. But you can only take it one game at a time."
She said the team was lucky to have such a loyal fan base.
The Pulse have a poor track record, having won only five out of 52 games.
However, Broughton said the past was the past.
"OK, that's history. Why are we looking back? We should be looking forward," said the coach.
She said the team would be working on finishing off their games better.
"From an opposing coach point of view, I was always respectful of [the Pulse] because, particularly last year, they played with passion and spirit. You couldn't fault them on that.
"You could fault them with their finishing off touches.
"They'd be mostly up on us but I always felt we just kept going, using our own game. They just faltered a bit in the end."