In Katrina Grant's first season with the Central Pulse, the team won once. And boy was there some hoopla at the final whistle.
It was the team's third season in the trans-Tasman Netball League and just their second ever win.
"It meant we weren't bottom - we were second-to-bottom," Grant said yesterday.
It was a small, but important, step. And as relevant now as it was then.
Grant and Millie Lees are the only survivors from that 2010 side. You could forgive Grant if she wanted to forget her formative years with the Pulse but, for the captain, they serve as a timely reminder to the 2014 squad.
"We were the Pulse and if we beat a team that was above us, it would be an absolute nightmare for them. I remember teams crying because they lost to us. Now the shoe's on the other foot," she said.
It's not knocking over the good teams that gets you places in this league, it's beating the bad ones.
The Pulse won eight games in last year's competition, finishing fifth. The second, third and fourth-placed teams all won nine games. The difference was that the Melbourne Vixens, Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic and Queensland Thunderbirds all thrashed the Northern Mystics.
The Pulse couldn't, losing in overtime to hand the Mystics their only win of the season.
"I'm still not over that game. It still drives me up the wall. That used to be us," said Grant.
That one-goal defeat came in round 5 and the Pulse spent the rest of the season trying to make up lost ground. They couldn't and have had to spend the 10 months since accepting their campaign was ruined by the type of also-ran they were for so long.
What happens this time remains to be seen. But retaining the bulk of last year's squad, allied to the addition of Irene van Dyk, certainly make the Pulse as formidable as anyone in the competition.
They were one of the form teams at this month's pre-season tournament in Melbourne and the TAB has them third favourite for the title. Those credentials will get an early test on Monday, when the Pulse host reigning champions the Adelaide Thunderbirds.
"We had a good team last year and still didn't get get into that top-four because of one unfortunate game, but that's life, that's sport," said Grant.
"This year there's a different feel and Robbie [coach Robyn Broughton] is starting to feel the pressure of the fact that we've actually got a good team and need to stop talking about it."
Grant's seen too many Pulse squads celebrate victory by cancelling training or ask for a light session because of a heavy defeat the night before. She won't allow this one to stint in its effort.
History's also taught Grant not to dream too big. But if she were to sit down again with The Dominion Post at the end of this campaign, what would've happened in the interim?
"We would've won the competition, I'd be in the [Silver Ferns'] Comm Games team and I'd be on the way to Glasgow. That would be a pretty good year."
History of the Central Pulse in the trans-Tasman Netball League
2008: No wins - 10th
2009: 1 win - 10th
2010: 1 win - 9th
2011: 3 wins - 8th
2012: 5 wins - 7th
2013: 8 wins - 5th
$4 Melbourne Vixens
$5 NSW Swifts
$6 Central Pulse, Adelaide Thunderbirds
$8 Queensland Firebirds
$10 Waikato Magic, Northern Mystics
$11 West Coast Fever
$25 Canterbury Tactix
$50 Southern Steel
- © Fairfax NZ News
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