How to prepare for back-to-back games against the same opponent is the prospect facing Central when they meet the Northern Marvels in Beko Netball League action in Lower Hutt on Sunday.
In a quirk of the draw, all teams enter unfamiliar territory this weekend when they play the same opposition as the previous round. Despite their seven-goal win last weekend, Central are determined not to be lulled into any false sense of security second time around.
"We have to prepare for it like any other game, ensure we have the right game plan for us and work hard on our structures," Central captain Elle Temu said. "I really don’t think it will faze us that much but it is interesting playing the same team back-to-back and what the outcome will be this time around."
"It’s a new game and new players. We don’t know who they will have in their team, the Beko teams change all the time, so it could all be totally different."
After opening their season with two narrow losses, Central have followed up with two important wins in an evenly-paced competition to date which has produced a tight cluster on the points table.
Central have edged up to third on the table, mindful that wins, bonus point losses and goal differential could be pivotal in deciding who makes the Grand Final at season’s end. And after three weeks on the road, are looking forward to making the most of any home court advantage over the next four rounds.
"We had a slow start to the season but our connections are stronger now which means our game is getting better and the scores are showing that," Temu said.
We are quite a young team and this is a new competition for most of us so that probably contributed to our slow start."
There is a growing confidence and trust among the players on-court while the accuracy of shooters Jermaine Howard-Vallance and schoolgirl Saviour Tui is another positive, the pair returning 86 and 97 percent success rates respectively in last week’s 61-54 win over the Marvels.
After losing the opening two quarters by a solitary goal, a big third quarter set Central up for a strong finish.
"Showing that trust in each other and just letting the ball go has improved and when we do that, it works well right through the court," Temu said. ``Our shooters are very accurate which provides confidence for the rest of the team.
"I think there’s still a lot more to come from us and it’s just a matter of fronting up at training and working hard. Our connections are still growing and I’m excited about what lies ahead."
A former New Zealand Secondary School player, Temu, a 1.89m in-circle defender was selected as a Pulse training partner late last year, making the move from Auckland to Wellington to further her netball career.
"For my netball, it’s been great and I feel like a new person," she said. "I’m just more confident in myself since I’ve been here and really glad that I moved but I do miss my home and family."