Robyn Broughton is now a coach with one player.
"A player and a captain," Broughton corrected, after Katrina Grant was announced yesterday as the Central Pulse's first signing for the 2013 trans-Tasman league season.
Grant's return had long been forecast, but was still a relief for Broughton. Up till then, the coach was still the franchise's only confirmed signing for next year.
The rest of the squad, of 12 to 14 players, will be unveiled on Monday but, in Broughton's view, the most important building block has been laid.
She believes Grant is in the form of her life, which has also been reflected in the goal keep's leadership.
Grant has worn her heart on her sleeve in her two years as Pulse captain and never been afraid to mention team-mates' shortcomings in public. A straight-shooter herself, Broughton wouldn't have it any other way.
"I always think there's respect for people that are doing what they preach," Broughton said.
"She plays well and she expects that from other people. She works hard at every training and she expects to see that [from others] and I think she's come a long way in that regard."
Pulse chairman Ian Collier agreed.
"The other girls love playing alongside Katrina and her influence helps to bring out the very best in them. Along with Robyn, we have two of the very best leading us into the 2013 season," Collier said.
There have been plenty of hints and rumours about which players might join Grant in returning to the Pulse next year and how many have been attracted to other franchises. Broughton's pretty sure in her own mind about who she's got, but won't add to the speculation until everyone's signed their contracts.
Not that the lack of certainty has been hampering her preparation. That's well advanced, to the extent that Broughton's already chosen the 10-strong squad she'll take to this month's premier club challenge tournament in Scotland.
The Pulse's first match of their 2013 campaign is away to Adelaide on March 24.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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