Tone-Fitzpatrick on lookout for new base

AARON GOILE
Last updated 05:00 09/08/2012
Sulu Tone-Fitzpatrick
CHRIS HILLOCK/Fairfax NZ
NEW BASE: Sulu Tone-Fitzpatrick tries to block Maria Tutaia.

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Sulu Tone-Fitzpatrick loves the Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic but is open to any opportunities to shift franchises which come her way.

Having been just a bit-part player for the victorious Magic team in this year's ANZ Championship because of the return of Leana de Bruin, Tone-Fitzpatrick has lost form and confidence and also her spot in the Silver Ferns squad.

Tone-Fitzpatrick, who turns 20 this month, played just two hours and 25 minutes of netball during the competition - just 15 per cent of the Magic's campaign - and was used for a full game just once.

Having debuted for the Northern Mystics in 2010, Tone-Fitzpatrick rose to prominence for the Magic last year, which led to an international debut against England.

The defender has been tried at wing defence more recently and admits to not liking the position, so if there is a chance for her to get more court time at one of the other four New Zealand franchises, Tone-Fitzpatrick will consider her options carefully.

No team has come running yet though, despite there being reports that the Southern Steel are very interested.

Tone-Fitzpatrick, who said the Magic haven't sat down and convinced her to stay yet either, will be letting her mother, who she lives with in Auckland, deal with any contractual negotiations.

"I would love to stay at Magic if I can, but I'm definitely open to any opportunities where I'm able to become a better netballer or get some court time," Tone-Fitzpatrick said.

"This season's definitely been different in terms of not getting much court time and I guess at the end of the day that's the most important thing - getting out there on court.

"And if I feel that I'm able to push for that court time then there's no worries but I think that's something I'll need to talk with Noels [coach Noeline Taurua] to see where she is at. I would love for her to stay on as Magic coach."

While the Silver Ferns trials take place next week, Tone-Fitzpatrick is instead getting back to the University of Auckland, where she's studying art and law.

She said the non-selection for the Ferns trial was no surprise to her and she knows what has to be rectified.

"One, I haven't had any court time so I haven't been seen, and two I just haven't been good enough," she said. "[I'm] definitely disappointed, but I guess it's motivation for me to push harder to get myself back in there.

"Wai [Silver Ferns coach Waimarama Taumaunu] was really good. She talked to me about where I needed to be at, what she wants from me. So it's pretty simple, as long as I get that work ethic and do what she wants and what's best for the team."

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Tone-Fitzpatrick said she had struggled with the nutrition and conditioning side of things recently and admitted it was something she had historically had some trouble with.

"I'm my own worst enemy. And being on the bench doesn't really help. You try not to, but you can get very complacent after a few weeks of not playing."

Tone-Fitzpatrick is part of the New Zealand side to play at an under-21 tournament in Melbourne from August 20-30, before she aims to impress in the NPC.

- Waikato Times

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