Internationals to boost Pulse

01:43, Jan 31 2009

Two internationals headline the eight players who will today be named in the Central Pulse's initial squad for next year's trans-Tasman netball championship.

Jamaican international defender Althea Byfield will spend her first season in the ANZ Championship, the 1.83m goal keep having signed with the Wellington-based Pulse.

She will be joined by Silver Ferns shooter Paula Griffin, who was a Northern Mystics player last season but has signed for the Pulse with the guarantee she will start each week.

While Griffin, 20, is well known in New Zealand, Byfield, who was hand-picked by the Pulse to replace outstanding English defender Sonia Mkoloma, is not.

But the 25-year-old with a background in United States college basketball has been a regular in the Jamaican national team for several years and played a big part in the Sunshine Girls' world championships campaigns in 2003 and 2007.

And with Griffin adding some star quality to the shooting circle, the Pulse now need to turn their attention to the midcourt, with Frances Solia having left for the Magic, who are expected also to name Silver Fern Leana de Bruin in their squad.


Among the four additional players the Pulse will sign by November 1 will also be a defensive partner for Byfield.

Included in the list of players to be announced today are wing defence Cushla Lichtwark and attacker Jamilah Gupwell, who were both rewarded for strong performances last season with recent call-ups to the New Zealand A team.

The other new player is Wellington's New Zealand under-21 shooter Te Amo Amaru-Tibble, while players to be cut include defender Candyce Edwards and midcourters Lauren Burgess and Hayley Crofts.

Meanwhile, Pulse chairman Nigel Kirkpatrick has confirmed Suzuki will not be renewing its naming rights sponsorship next season. The franchise is in discussions with several interested parties.

The Pulse have also advertised for a chief executive, with Kristine Mayo having left after the first season.

PULSE SQUAD: Paula Griffin, Susan Tagicakibau, Te Amo Amaru-Tibble, Amber Bellringer, Jamilah Gupwell, Cushla Lichtwark, Neesha Wieser, Althea Byfield (four to be added).

The Dominion Post