Joline Henry expects baby and return to play
You could have been forgiven for thinking you were talking to Irene van Dyk.
Joline Henry is about as straight a shooter as you will get, but the Central Pulse and Silver Ferns star was gushing yesterday. She was finally able to confirm that she is "three months and three weeks pregnant", the 29-year-old has scarcely sounded happier.
Henry and her partner, Leif Johannson, are expecting their first child in January, meaning she will miss New Zealand's approaching nine-test programme.
Not that she will be idle.
Former Pulse, now Silver Ferns trainer Stephen Hotter has already got Henry on a programme of twice-daily strength and conditioning sessions to make sure the dynamic defender is fit for next year's trans-Tasman netball league. Subject to the final paperwork being completed, Henry has pledged her allegiance to the Pulse and indicated coach Robyn Broughton would be returning too.
"That's my intention at the moment and I made that quite clear to Robyn, who asked for my services again next year," Henry said.
"I really enjoyed the season. I found it really challenging in lots of ways, but I still think that with a few more strategic recruitments that this team can only get stronger."
Henry thrives on challenges and she had a few during the last weeks of the season. Ill a lot of the time, and starting to show, Henry doggedly kept the show on the road.
"They talk about morning sickness and, I tell you what, they should rename it because it lasts all bloody day and night," she said.
"But I didn't miss any trainings and I didn't want it to be an issue for my team.
"I wanted them to just focus on their netball and, when I was at netball, I was there utterly and completely to give to the team and, when I got home, it was all about `oh gosh'.
"It was really hard because I felt a little bit like I was betraying my team, in terms of not fully disclosing what was going on with me."
Henry's on-court effort never wavered, although she did have to slightly modify her take-no-prisoners approach. In the last game of the season, West Coast Fever wing attack Shae Bolton did nothing but niggle Henry, who was unable to respond in her usual manner.
"I know and I tell you what, if things had been a little bit different ... " she said, with a roar of laughter.
Now back in Hamilton, having been in Wellington since January, the 68-test veteran is about to go without something a lot of former Silver Ferns have told her about.
"It's that feeling of anxiousness and nervousness and excitement and adrenaline that happens all at once when you're singing the national anthem and just about to step out on court.
"It's that feeling that I'm going to miss when I see the girls go out on court [this year], and definitely one of the motivating factors for wanting to come back is to feel that again."
The Dominion Post