Watch the new episode of Off The Court with Central Pulse’s departing head coach on Sky Sports Mix at 3.30pm
By Emma Thurston
Last Updated: 28/08/20 10:13am
Yvette McCausland-Durie joins Caroline Barker and Tamsin Greenway on the new episode of Off The Court to reflect on Central Pulse’s ANZ Premiership title win.
On August 23, Central Pulse stepped onto court in Invercargill with the ambition of retaining the title they won 12 months ago… 48 minutes later they had achieved their goal and done so in style.
Their 43-31 Grand Final victory over the Tactix was a convincing one and meant that their head coach completed her four-year tenure with the team on the highest of high notes.
“One of the biggest things when you play a final [and win it] is relief,” she said to Sky Sports during Off The Court.
“You spend a whole lot of time [building to it] and with COVID-19 and the global situation, it’s meant that it’s been a really long season.
“I’ve been really impressed with the resilience and the courage of our playing group and in particular, their ability to be flexible and mobile.”
In the regular season the Pulse lost just twice and from the moment that the competition restarted in June, it was clear that they had the players and leadership to go back-to-back.
“Coming into the final, we just wanted to put a performance together that reflected our best potential,” McCausland-Durie said.
“It wasn’t perfect, but for finals netball it had some flow and some energy. It’s always really great to win games; it’s a much better week, and a much better day, when you’ve won than it is when you lose!”
One of the youngest players on the court, Maddy Gordon, excelled during the Grand Final and deservedly took home the MVP award.
Gordon has enjoyed a standout season and a short time after helping Pulse to secure the title, she was named in Dame Noeline Taurua’s Silver Ferns squad for the first time.
“It’s the ethic that she brings to the game, plus her speed and agility,” McCausland-Durie said of Gordon.
“The most amazing bit for me has been the fact that she’s come into a new position [WA]. She had six minutes on court last year and this season, I spoke to her and said that she was going to be our starting WA.
“I said that she may make mistakes but that we were going to trust her, back her and work it through.
“She really appreciated that fact that people believed in her, probably more than she believed in herself at the time, and look what came from that confidence and belief.”
Maddy has an incredible innate determination. Her competitiveness, willingness to learn and coachability are huge positives. I see a massive future for her.
McCausland-Durie has been at the Pulse for four years and the head coach has been working towards the ambition of wanting to produce a completely home-grown Pulse team.
“We’re constantly looking at being engaged with the development process across our whole zone, which perhaps isn’t as big as some areas,” she said.
“We want to make sure that players who live and reside in our region truly believe in the Pulse, in the pathway and that they can become Pulse players”
Away from the Pulse, a stalwart of New Zealand netball has called time on her international career as Laura Langman announced her retirement.
The two-time Commonwealth gold medallist and World Cup winner made her international debut as a teenager against England in 2005 and went on to earn 163 caps for her country.
“Everybody around the world admires her, whether they’re a netballer or not,” McCausland-Durie said of Langman.
“Her work ethic and her incredible commitment to the game; she’s just deeply ingrained in it and is such a massive part of the fabric of netball in New Zealand.
“I think that we’re very fortunate to have had her legacy. It’s pretty impressive what she’s done, and we just wish her every success.”
While Langman continues to play domestic netball in Australia for Sunshine Coast Lightning, McCausland-Durie will also stay in touch with netball alongside returning to work alongside her husband in the education system.
As well as having a wealth of domestic experience, McCausland-Durie has been assistant coach with the Silver Ferns and is a former New Zealand U21 coach and assistant coach. With such a stacked CV, a burning question is whether or not she has her eye on the main head coach role of the Silver Ferns in the future?
“I think that technically I’ve still got a lot of work to do [as a coach], I’m not the complete package. I understand that there are still gaps in my learning,” she said.
Lots to learn as New Zealand show the way
Tamsin Greenway believes there is plenty for the netball world to learn from the return of the ANZ Championship – and sees no sign of the Silver Ferns getting weaker.
“I haven’t ever looked and thought that I really wanted to be a Silver Fern coach, but I understand the challenges that go with it, having been in the assistant role.
“I’ve really enjoyed the ANZ Premiership role at a franchise when it’s an everyday commitment. You get to coach on a regular basis, and I feel that you get to make a really significant difference to people; not only on the court but off the court.
“I really enjoy the deep involvement and I know that you don’t always get that at a national level to quite the same degree.
“So, you never say never. I take opportunities when they front, and I do my best.
“At this stage, it’s not on the cards and Noeline is doing a fantastic job. We’re lucky to have her in that role and she’s played a huge part in this ANZ Premiership around supporting coaches at lots of different levels throughout the game.
“If it happens, it happens. I’m really content with where I’m at right now and look forward to contributing to the game in New Zealand in other ways.”