Pacific Netball Series: Fiji Pearls focus on ‘one game at a time’

The Fiji Pearls will focus on playing “one game at a time” when they compete at next week’s 2024 PacificAus Sports Netball Series in Brisbane.

Captain Alesi Waqa said while they have prepared well, they respect their opponents at the week-long event.

The Pearls have Singapore, Samoa, the Australian All Nations, Tongan Tala and Namibia in round-robin matches.

Finishing in the top two will mean a final play-off.

Tongan Talas are the defending champions coming into the fourth installment of the international series which provides the opportunity for teams to compete for world ranking points.

Waqa said they have had some good training runs and camp, which has seen the players bond well together.

“Going into this tournament, we will take one game at a time,” she said.

“We will take on Singapore first and worry about the rest later.

“There’s a lot of young players in the team. The camp last week was really good and it focus on our attacks and defence and polishing those up before we fly out this Friday.”

The competition will for the first time feature the Australia First Nations team.

Fiji Pearls squad training for the Pacific Netball Series.

Team connect at camp

Head coach Una Rokoura said their team camp last week had helped in connecting the team together.

“We have concluded our camp last week, the objective around the camp is that we want to just connect together as a team in-terms of the place themselves and strengthened our team bonding especially the different areas of the of the court,” she said.

“It was a very successful camp, we’ve wanted the girls to appreciate the small things, at the end of the week we saw big change, a big shift in terms of the connection and the bond between the players.”

She said the team focused on just making sure that they are able to clean up their through court play in terms of attack.

“Our sub unit groups have worked together as units in terms of the shooting, the mid-court and defenders is trying to strengthen the connection on court as well.”

The Fiji Pearls will depart for Brisbane on Friday, and start their campaign against Singapore on Monday, 10 June.

They take on Samoa on 11 June, face the Australian All Nations team on the 12th, battle Tonga on 13 June and then close their round-robin game against Namibia on 14 June.

The Fiji Pearls squad includes four debutants, including two from the current Fiji Under-21 squad.

Four debutants included

Netball Fiji chief executive Vivian Koster said the inclusion of the two under-21 players is a testament of the academy pathway program in place.

“We’re happy that two of our Academy players Nakula and Nalewabau, who are in the under-21 squad, have made it to the Fiji Pearls team,” she said.

“This highlights the effectiveness of the National Academy program in providing a pathway to the Pearls.”

The other two debutants were standout players from the Suva and Nadroga Netball club competition.

“The four debutants deserve their spots in the Pearls team for the PacificAus Sports Series, they performed well at the All Stars tournament, and this is their chance to showcase their talent on a global stage.”

Fiji Pearls squad:1. Unaisi Rauluni,2. Maliana Rusivakula, 3. Nina Nakula (new), 4. Lydia Panapasa, 5. Matila Vocea, 6. Anaseini Nauqe, 7. Alesi Paul, 8. Elenoa Gukirewa (new), 9. Avelina Navue, 10. Ana Moi, 11. Kalesi Tawake, 12. Alisi Naqiri, 13. Reama Verekauta, 14. Yvonne Nalewabau (new), 15. Titilia Buloubuli (new).

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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