Jessica Tuki takes her chance with Mystics

AARON GOILE
Last updated 05:00 14/02/2014
Jessica Tuki
Photosport
PRIME OPPORTUNITY: Jessica Tuki has been given a late callup to the Northern Mystics side for this weekend's pre-season tournament in Melbourne.

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Former Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic player Jessica Tuki has been called into the Northern Mystics team for the Summer Shootout.

The 26-year-old will cover for the injured Anna Harrison, who sustained a foot injury in last weekend's loss to the Melbourne Vixens in Tasmania.

Tuki, who played all seven positions on court in her three years at the Magic, but recently set her focus on becoming a goal attack, will be used at goal keep and wing defence for the two-day tournament in Melbourne.

It gives the three-test Silver Fern a sniff at reviving her netball career, having missed out on a trans-Tasman league contract for this season and been concentrating on her regular job as an accountant at Staples Rodway.

"I knew that I was never really going to be picked as a shooter for any ANZ team this season," said Tuki, who shifted to the front of the court last year for her University club and for Hamilton at the national championships, in order to re-ignite her passion for the sport.

Tuki got an unexpected phone call from Mystics coach Debbie Fuller on Monday, and said it was an easy decision to play, as she always wanted to keep her foot in the door.

Ironically, Tuki's only recent game time came last week when she filled in for an inter-squad game with the Magic, the team she is looking forward to facing on Sunday.

"It was a little bit awkward, but I'm not really bound to anyone," she said of switching teams.

"I think it probably helped that my ex team-mates [Laura Langman, Jodi Tod-Elliott and Nadia Loveday were at the Magic last year] are up there, may have put in a quiet word or something. It was totally out of the blue, but I'm real grateful for the opportunity that Debbie's given me."

While she is roaming between goal attack and wing attack for the upcoming club season, Tuki was never going to say no to the opportunity to show her wares again at the higher level.

"I think a bit of time's just needed there for me to really get my confidence back. So while I'm waiting for that to happen, why not just dabble around in the other positions, and if something great comes from it then I can't be stupid and not take an opportunity."

While there is now a possibility of Tuki shining and forcing her way in for some regular season game-time, she isn't thinking too far ahead.

"I'm just taking it as it comes, eh. We'll see what happens after the weekend.

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"It's a good chance to get out there on the court, have a run around, show what I've got to offer.

"In a way, thank God it's goal keep, because it hasn't been the ideal [fitness] preparation. I'm relying on some muscle memory to pull me through."

- Waikato Times

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