De Bruin getting back into gear

BY BRENDON EGAN
Last updated 05:00 20/02/2010

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Netball

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Southern Steel recruit Leana de Bruin is surprised by how smooth the transition has been back into top-level netball following the birth of her first child.

The former Silver Ferns defender gave birth to a son, Caleb, in October, but has quickly got back into top shape and appears to have lost none of her old abilities.

de Bruin was a standout during Steel's opening preseason hitout of the year in Christchurch two weeks ago and in Queenstown yesterday again shone with her thief-like intercepting skills and resolute defence.

She said she got back into training mode six weeks after the birth of Caleb and admitted being a little shocked about how easy it had been to get back into the swing of things.

"It wasn't that bad. I started quite early and stayed pretty fit during the pregnancy ... It's a bit hard with the jumping. I haven't done much jumping."

During the past three months, de Bruin has been based in her hometown of Hamilton and has been getting ready for the new season with a mixture of running, pilates and games of squash.

Next week, she will shift down to Invercargill for the duration of the ANZ Championship, but that move will be eased because her mother is also coming down to help look after Caleb.

Steel's defensive end was decimated in the off-season with the experienced Megan Hutton retiring and Katrina Grant defecting to Pulse. They did manage to plug the gap with the addition of de Bruin – who offers the side plenty of height and experience.

She said the decision to switch from Magic to Steel was not too difficult.

"It's an opportunity for me to be more of a leader. They were also pretty good at supporting me with my mum and Caleb."

de Bruin, who has amassed 33 caps for the Silver Ferns, was unavailable for last year's international season because of the pregnancy. She said she would dearly love to fight her way back into the national squad.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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