Australian midcourters Jacinta Messer and Chelsea Locke are masterminding a revolution at the Central Pulse this season.
In combination with another trans-Tasman product, goal attack Ameliaranne Wells, the duo are creating a Kiwi-Australian hybrid which melds the best of both netball worlds.
The results haven’t quite matched expectations: the Pulse opened their season with a one-goal win over the Magic, flatlined with a 16-goal loss to the defending champion Queensland Firebirds, then battled to a 52-52 draw with the Northern Mystics.
Now they face an intriguing battle with the New Zealand conference-leading Southern Steel in Invercargill this weekend.
Both Messer, 29, and 27-year-old Locke say despite the up-and-down nature of the season to date, the Pulse’s new combinations are slowly starting to gel.
Messer is learning the ropes at wing defence for the Pulse after a year off netball to concentrate on her career in corporate relations at Brisbane Airport Corporation.
Prior to that she spent a three-year term with the Firebirds at goal defence, and has combined that close knowledge of the Australian one-on-one defending with the Kiwi model revolving around space marking.
“What we’re trying to do in this team is find a balance between the two, keeping it fresh and mixing it up,” she told AAP.
“It’s a great opportunity to have maybe a bit of a new style of netball that brings the two together quite nicely.”
Locke kick-started her trans-Tasman career with the Tactix in 2008 before also shifting to the Firebirds, before joining Manchester Thunder in the English Superleague last year.
She is relishing the chance to learn from a new team, and a new coach in former Silver Ferns defender Tanya Dearns at the Pulse.
“I’m always looking to learn and be a sponge, because I don’t know everything,” Locke said.
“I’m not the best, and I want to be. I need to make sure I’m always looking for those little one-percenters I can add on the court.
“It’s about always learning – you should never accept that that’s good enough.”