Leota's wise head valued

GEORGE HEAGNEY
Last updated 12:00 19/05/2014

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Central Pulse midcourter Liana Leota may find herself chucked in the deep end soon, even if she doesn't think she's quite ready.

Leota played a key role in the Pulse's 49-45 win over the Northern Mystics at Arena Manawatu last night, coming off the bench at halftime.

It was only her fourth game this season, with all of them off the bench as she has been working back to full fitness after the birth of her third child about two months ago.

"I was a bit nervous, especially being at home," the Palmerston North woman said. "I didn't throw away as much ball as I did in the last game and our percentage to circle edge was really good, so I was happy with that."

Pulse coach Robyn Broughton was impressed with how Leota went and said she also helps centre Millie Lees' game when she's on.

"Liana came on well and now I think she could go longer," Broughton said "Because she is such a calming influence out there. She's wise and thinking; just keeping it cool."

So with their final two games against the Queensland Firebirds and West Coast Fever, did Leota feel up to a full game yet?

"Not against the Aussies, definitely not," Leota said. "I'd push it. I think mentally I've got to use my head instead of my legs these days.

"Definitely mentally, but not physically. Who knows. I won't know until I'm thrown into that position."

Leota helped lift things when she came on, and said it helped have fellow veteran Donna Wilkins, with the two talking a lot, which kept Leota calm.

"It's nice watching from the side because I can see and process things as opposed to starting and being amongst it," Leota said. "It was good to watch and get on and play well in front of a home crowd."

Leota has been playing Manawatu club netball on Tuesday nights. She said running for an hour helps, but the only way to get fit fast was match play.

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- Manawatu Standard

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