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Dynamic Central Pulse wing defence Joline Henry is looking forward to rekindling her netball career in the ANZ Championship this month with a new baby and sponsor on board.
Henry gave birth to a son, Te Aihireinga, in January. He is now nine weeks old and the apple of his mother’s eye.
“He is my pride and joy and makes me realise there is more to life than just netball,” says Hamilton-based 30-year-old Henry.
However, the veteran of 69 tests for the Silver Ferns is still training hard and looking forward to her comeback to the netball court in April with a new sponsor, Kent, on board. She has been selected by Kent as its player ambassador for this year’s ANZ Championship Joline Henryseries.
“I grew up with a Kent fire in my grand parent’s home. After I had a bath I would race to the Kent fire to find my clothes laid out in front of it and they always felt nice and warm,” she said.
“It was a big part of my upbringing and a memory which has always stuck in my mind,” she said.
“It is great to have a sponsor which is local, home grown and New Zealand owned,” Henry says.
It will be Henry’s second season at the Pulse. She played wing defence, but also had a couple of games at centre in 2012. She expects to play in the mid-court this year.
Henry says The Pulse have selected arguably their strongest squad this season. The signings of former Silver Ferns Liana Leota and Donna Wilkins have added to a team which already has on its books the likes of Katrina Grant, Te Huinga Selby-Rickit, Camilla Lees, Paula Griffin and Australian international Caitlin Thwaites.
“We’ve recruited really well in positions that will make a difference for us. On top of the people we had, that gives us different options.”
“These guys [Wilkins and Leota] are seasoned, they know how to win games, they’ve been Silver Ferns … and I believe they are the best in their positions in New Zealand at the moment.”
Under the tutelage of Robyn Broughton, the side finished seventh in 2012, picking up a franchise high five wins. However, given the roster they have this season, a semifinals berth should be the minimum goal.
For this to happen, though, Henry says that consistency will be key. The side dropped a couple of games it should have won last year after working its way into a winning position.
Henry believes she still has a lot to offer New Zealand netball and is targeting a return to the Silver Ferns this year and longer term has her sights set on being part of the New Zealand team for next year’s Commonwealth Games.
“My ultimate achievement would be for us to win gold at the Commonwealth Games and then win the World Championships the following year,” she says.