Pulse's Milner-Olsen makes bid for her own bib

HAMISH BIDWELL
Last updated 05:00 04/05/2012
Ngarama Milner-Olsen
MAARTEN HOLL/Fairfax NZ
ATTACKING PLAY: Ngarama Milner-Olsen is ready for a swift response to a tough New South Wales game on Sunday.

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Another week, another Central Pulse midcourter gracing this page.

Katarina Cooper and Daya Wiffen have both been profiled and now it's the turn of Ngarama Milner-Olsen.

The reason being, the revolving door that's become the team's midcourt. Millie Lees has been the one constant but, alongside her, Cooper, Wiffen and Milner-Olsen have all been tried, with varying degrees of success.

Having started the season at wing attack, Milner-Olsen then looked to have been overtaken by the other two.

The 29-year-old personal trainer didn't play a minute of the Pulse's round four victory over the Canterbury Tactix before spending all of Sunday's 51-47 loss to the Northern Mystics in the wing attack bib.

Given the chopping and changing, it's little wonder that Milner-Olsen was unsure when asked if that bib now belonged to her.

"It'll depend on our opposition. If we can create different combinations and different styles, then that's good for the team," she deadpanned.

However, she was soon to break into a huge smile, when told of Pulse coach Robyn Broughton's comment after the Mystics match.

Broughton said the reason she kept her starting seven on court for all but the final minute was because they were far and away the best players in the squad.

"Oh, OK ... all right," a beaming Milner-Olsen said. "Well, we all do our best to get on court.

"At training we work hard and then it's all about the coach's decision.

"If it's to sit on the bench, we've got to do our job on the bench as well.

"But we don't play in this competition to sit on the bench and if we're satisfied to be on the bench, then we shouldn't be here.

"The in-house competition is healthy and I'm always up for a challenge. You just do your best and then it's up to her [Broughton]."

If the Pulse are to have any chance of winning their round six trans-Tasman netball league clash, with the New South Wales Swifts on Sunday, then the midcourt has to fire.

It's becoming a broken record now, but the fact remains that the ball is not getting into shooters Caitlin Thwaites and Paula Griffin often enough.

"Our links have to get a lot sharper," Milner-Olsen agreed.

"For us, as feeders, if we can give them some good ball in some good space, hopefully they can get a good shot out of it.

"But we still need to sharpen those links and that's my job as a feeder.

"The expectations we have of ourselves are really high, so each individual is their harshest critic."

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SUNDAY'S match is the Pulse's first exposure to Australian opposition since the 58-32 drubbing they suffered at the hands of the Queensland Firebirds in round three.

The bumps and bruises the team picked up in that game almost smarted as much as the final score.

It's imperative that Milner-Olsen and company don't allow the Swifts to push them about.

"That [Firebirds] match was very physical and I hadn't seen so many bodies on the ground before, to be honest," she said.

"I don't know if that was part of their game plan but it does get inside players' heads. We need to expect it and, if it's not going to get called [by the umpires], we need to muscle up and match it."

That should make for quite a spectacle, then.

"Yes, I would say it's going to be interesting," she chuckled.

AT A GLANCE

Name: Ngarama Milner-Olsen
Age: 29
Height: 1.69m
Position: Wing attack, centre
Educated at: Tairangi School (Waitangirua), Turakina Maori Girls' College, Wellington East Girls' College
Profession: Personal trainer
Playing record: Pulse player since 2009

- The Dominion Post

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