Two games in two days is precisely what Central Pulse coach Robyn Broughton wants.
"We really haven't had any games yet," she said this week ahead of her team's ANZ Championship pre-season matches against the Australian Institute of Sport in New Plymouth tomorrow night and the 2012 trans-Tasman champions, Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic, on Saturday afternoon.
"That's what this weekend is all about, getting players on court and trying different combinations," she said.
"It's invaluable, I'm so relieved we have this opportunity."
Broughton said the only game time so far was against the Wellington men's side.
"It's not quite the same playing against the men, it's a different type of game," she said.
"We were going to play in a pre-season tournament at Tauranga but that was cancelled. This is a late arrangement and it's worked out well."
Broughton said the players were training most days, with the opening match against the Adelaide Thunderbirds in Adelaide on March 24 not far away.
"It's full on now," Broughton said. "It's strength and conditioning most days, and we're trying to get a few games.
"We need them, the more the better so our combinations start to click," she said.
Broughton said she expected two tough games this weekend.
"The Aussies are always tough . . . lively youngsters, they'll go for everything," Broughton said.
"I expect a fast game.
"Typical Australia, they'll take it to us," she said.
"Magic will be using the games like us, trying different things.
"They've got a strong lineup - I think there's only one change from last year."
The Magic lineup, coached by Noeline Taurua, includes Silver Ferns Laura Langman, Casey Kopua, Irene Van Dyk and Leana de Bruin.
The Pulse lineup includes Silver Ferns Katrina Grant and Paula Griffin, and former national players Donna Wilkins and Liana Leota, along with Australian shooter Caitlin Thwaites.
New Zealand's other championship squads - the Northern Mystics, the Canterbury Tactix and the Southern Steel - have headed to Australia this weekend for a pre-season tournament in Melbourne.
- Taranaki Daily News