Grant detests being put up on a pedestal

HAMISH BIDWELL
Last updated 05:00 05/02/2013
Katrina Grant
KENT BLECHYNDEN/Fairfax NZ
WAITING GAME: Katrina Grant says she didn't like how the Central Pulse put her "on a pedestal" while signing the 2013 Trans-Tasman squad.

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Being the face of a franchise sounds flattering.

But as deadline day approached for the release of this year's trans-Tasman netball league squads, the pressure of being No 1 on the hit parade began to tell on Katrina Grant.

The Central Pulse were adamant that their captain and goal keep would be their first signing and the remaining 11 players confirmed after that.

Only Grant was on international duty and bound by a Silver Ferns protocol that players don't negotiate with their franchises while in camp.

She was eventually able to talk to, and sign with, the Pulse, but with the deadline just hours away the franchise still only had half a team.

Looking back now, Grant has doubts about how true the Pulse's statements were that they would sign no other player until she was over the line.

One thing she's sure of is that she hated being held up as "the" person and the whispering that she needed to hurry up and sign because she was jeopardising the franchise's plans.

"I didn't like people saying that," Grant said.

"I definitely don't like that kind of stuff and being on a pedestal. That's not right at all and I'm not a big fan of that, no."

The franchise ended up compiling their best squad yet, the bulk of whom have been training together for the past month.

Wing attack Liana Leota will arrive from England on February 28, with Joline Henry expected back in March.

Henry had a baby boy last month and is looking well, said Grant, having seen her during a 10-day Silver Ferns camp which concluded last Wednesday.

The Pulse, minus Leota and Henry, start a three-day camp on Friday, which will also herald the arrival of coach Robyn Broughton and star signing Donna Wilkins.

Wilkins has been recruited as much for her attitude as ability and Grant can't wait for her former Southern Steel team-mate to arrive.

"She's a great person and I like her demeanour on court and at trainings. She's so professional and you don't get away with much," she said.

"The more people you have in your team that know how to be professional, the easier it is for that to rub off on the others.

"I don't think we've had that as much in the past, but with La [Leota] coming in and Donna and also having Joline here, you can't help but follow their lead."

Some captains might feel undermined by the prospect of having older players with big personalities like Wilkins, Henry and Leota throwing in their tuppence worth.

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Not Grant.

"No way, they are all very respectful and I think it will help me out and I'll learn off them for sure. We all respect each other as people and players."

That's part of Grant's strength as a leader. She fronts up, she's blunt, she's a fearless and skilful player, but doesn't regard herself as the font of all knowledge or better than anyone else.

She's also prepared to suffer in public, which she joked would be the case when the Pulse join the masses for the 7km fun-run section of this month's Around the Bays.

"We're not doing the half-marathon because that would probably break us.

"We don't go for long runs, we're built for more interval-type training and this would be close to one of my longest runs," she said.

- The Dominion Post

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