Silver Fern Ameliaranne Ekenasio has revealed she is weighing up her future at the Central Pulse after falling down the pecking order during the team’s best ever ANZ Premiership season.
Despite returning from maternity leave to represent New Zealand at the Commonwealth Games earlier this year, Ekenasio has played just 351 out of a possible 840 minutes during the domestic campaign, with Pulse coach Yvette McCausland-Durie preferring the combination of promising teenagers Aliyah Dunn and Tiana Metuarau instead.
Although she is happily settled in Wellington, Ekenasio said she has reached the stage in her career where she needed to be playing on a regular basis, and that is likely to swing her decision.
“It’s actually a really tough decision because obviously my family are here. I’m really happy here but if it comes down to just court time, I’m at the point where I do need to be playing. I actually do want to be playing anyway. I’ve done my time on the bench. I’ve done years on the bench,” she said.
“We’re looking at my options but I just want to finish the season really strongly. I’m not looking too closely at the moment but definitely weighing up all our options and what’s going to be the best for my career.”
But as much as Ekenasio admitted that it has taken some time to adjust to her new role as impact player, she has tried to maintain a positive attitude throughout what has been an extremely successful season for the Pulse, who are already guaranteed to host the final.
Behind the scenes she said she has been working harder than ever before in an attempt to win back her starting role and has thoroughly enjoyed the added responsibility of helping mentor Dunn and Metuarau, the two players she is competition with.
“I think when I first started my career back in Queensland I had some amazing role models to look up to who really took me under their wing, so I know how much senior players can completely shape the way that young players come through,” she said.
“That’s been a huge vision of mine, that we need to create some really good people over just good netballers. We’re just looking at everything, like their attitudes. We’ve been keeping them grounded. Yes they are young and yes they are playing a lot but we don’t want their heads to blow up with it. We want to make them better people because better people make better netballers.”
After 12 consecutive games on the bench, Ekenasio was handed a rare start in last week’s game against the Northern Stars, putting up respectable shooting figures of 29 goals from 35 attempts. So while she may have spent most of the season on the bench, Ekenasio said she would be doing everything she can in order to get on the court for the final.
“I was really excited when I was told I was starting. I was a bit nervous as well because it had been the entire season and I really wanted to make a good impact right from the start.
“I was definitely stoked with my performance and now it’s just about being able to back it up. Obviously sitting on the bench has been a tough position for me this entire season so I definitely hope I get another chance.”
The Pulse host the Northern Mystics in their final regular season game at TSB Arena on Wednesday night, in a match that should decide whether the Mystics qualify for the preliminary final.