Donna Wilkins on her way to Central Pulse
Donna Wilkins will be a Central Pulse player in 2013, after her name was among the 10 the franchise submitted to trans-Tasman Netball League organisers yesterday.
Teams had until 5pm to confirm at least 10 contracted players, complete with each one's monetary value under the $380,000 salary cap.
Every cent of the players' packages, including third-party deals, also had to be shown to exist, rather than just an assurance that the money would turn up at some point.
The Pulse, and their chief negotiators Tim Castle and Kyla Lange, were still trying to finalise deals with some players yesterday, but were able to do so before the 5pm deadline.
"We've met our obligations to TTNL," Pulse chairman Ian Collier said last night.
Franchises have until next Monday to confirm the remaining players on their roster.
Squad numbers can be as high as 14, but it's understood that the Robyn Broughton-coached Pulse will go with 12.
Rather than wait till Monday, the Pulse intend to name their 12 later this week. That's expected to include Wilkins, whose possible shift north to join her friend and mentor Broughton has been discussed for months.
The 34-year-old mother of three was one of the stars of Broughton's Southern Sting team, which dominated domestic netball. She was also Broughton's assistant coach - during one of her pregnancies - when the Sting morphed into the Steel, before successfully returning to the playing ranks.
Broughton often talked this year of the impact Wilkins might have made to the team's campaign, both for her playing ability and ruthless attitude.
Such is the bond the pair share, that Wilkins' presence on court would be the next-best thing to Broughton being out there herself next year.
Collier said "the finer details" of one or two players' deals still had to be finalised before the Pulse could release their 12-strong squad.
Captain Katrina Grant is still their only publicly-confirmed signing, but it is assumed that shooter Caitlin Thwaites, midcourters Joline Henry and Camilla Lees and defender Te Huinga Reo Selby-Rickit will also be back next year.
Former Silver Ferns and Steel wing attack Liana Leota continues to be linked with a move to the Pulse.
She is based in England, where her rugby-playing husband Johnny is under contract with Sale, but has said Broughton is the only coach she would play for when she returns to New Zealand.