It took a bit longer than expected, but Claire Kersten finally made her way into the Central Pulse after the 2013 squad was announced last week.
The former Palmerston North Girls' High School student and Western player was one of the new faces in the Pulse squad that features several past and present Silver Ferns.
The 23-year-old was in the New Zealand under-21 team in 2008 and 2009 along with established Pulse players Millie Lees and Te Huinga Reo Selby-Rickit.
Even though it took Kersten a bit longer to crack the semi-professional ranks, she had never given up the thought of getting picked.
"I think it's something that I had definitely wanted," she said. "And it hadn't happened straight after under-21s and things. If you have motivation to keep going, you can't give up playing.
"You don't have to be 20 to get a chance. I'm grateful that I've been working hard."
Kersten was originally in the Pulse team for the World Invitational Premier Club Challenge in Scotland in November but had not been expecting a callup to the main ANZ Championship squad.
"I don't know how it all came about. We didn't have trials or anything, but you never know who's watching whenever you're playing."
A bit of a sporting nomad in recent times, Kersten played for Western in the national provincial competition in 2007 during her last year at school, then played for Otago for three years while studying in Dunedin.
She played for Canterbury last year while doing her teaching training in Christchurch, then moved to Wellington this year where she played for the capital side.
A science and biology teacher at Wellington's Newlands College, Kersten will find it is a change of scene for her in a team featuring big names like Joline Henry, Donna Wilkins and Liana Leota. The wing defence had not thought much about how much game time to expect with such a stellar roster but was looking forward to getting experience at that level.
"It's exciting to be there in the first place," Kersten said. "Try hard and work hard, that's all you can do really."
- © Fairfax NZ News