It's not a match made in heaven yet but Irene van Dyk and Julie Fitzgerald definitely share the same dream.
Van Dyk wants to remain with the Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic next year and new coach Fitzgerald wants her stay. The sticking point now is around commuting.
The 41-year-old goal shoot travels to the Magic from Wellington and won't budge on that arrangement. Australian Fitzgerald is expected in Hamilton tomorrow, at which point she'll make a call on whether van Dyk can come and go as she has until now.
"I cannot train every day in the Waikato, I'm not willing to move, I'm not going to move out of Wellington," van Dyk said on radio yesterday.
Should she and Fitzgerald reach an impasse on that issue, then the Pulse could come into the reckoning to sign her.
Van Dyk has spent 11 years flying up to Hamilton on a Wednesday, training that night and again the following morning before coming home. It's not uncommon and the Central Pulse had a similar arrangement with out-of-towners Joline Henry, Donna Wilkins and Liana Leota this year.
This year's Pulse coach Robyn Broughton had a host of players fly in from elsewhere during her successful tenure at the Southern Sting and Steel, but wondered why the Pulse had never tried to recruit van Dyk. An approach was made last year but went nowhere.
The Pulse have yet to name a coach for next year, although an announcement is expected this week. Broughton is the person they want but others are now circling.
Rightly or wrongly, the Pulse have a policy of securing key individuals first and assembling the rest of the roster from there. That's not changed, so retaining Broughton and then captain Katrina Grant are the sole priorities at this stage.
Complicating matters is that the trans-Tasman Netball League organisers want franchises to submit an initial squad by the end of this month. The Silver Ferns also have a rule that players cannot negotiate with franchises once the national camps start and the first of those is August 5-9.
If Broughton turns the Pulse down this week, then there will be a mad scramble to appoint someone else who, frankly, the players probably won't want to be coached by.
Van Dyk would be a good acquisition on and off the court. She continues to be one of the premier goal shoots in the competition and would be a terrific marketing tool for the Pulse. However, it's unclear if Broughton, should she choose to return, is now completely sold on signing van Dyk.
- © Fairfax NZ News