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Zara Everitt

London Pulse have taken the Vitality Netball Superleague by storm this season, surging into the top four to make the play-offs for the first time ever this season.

Sam Bird’s side have impressed with their quick passing and high energy and will look to cause an upset in the play-offs to clinch their maiden title.

Here’s everything you need to know about the pink and black:

Key Player – Funmi Fadoju
You could probably pick a whole number of Pulse players as their key player, such is their strength all over the court.

Zara Everitt has been imperious at wing defence, while Olivia Tchine has netted 659 goals but it is impossible to look past goal defence Funmi Fadoju.

Only 19 years old, Fadoju has been at the heart of Pulse’s defensive record that ranks as number one in the Superleague.

Fadoju’s form has seen her included in the Vitality Rose programme for 2022-23, and her importance to this Pulse side was keenly felt when she was out with injury earlier in the season.

Rising Star – Ellie Rattu
There is an argument that Ellie Rattu is more than just a rising star, given her call up to the Vitality Roses programme last month.

However, the 22-year-old certainly does not get the credit her terrific work at centre deserves.
Rattu has been outstanding this season at the heart of Pulse’s engine room and has been the driving force behind Sam Bird’s high-tempo style of play.

While others may have taken the headlines this season, it is surely only a matter of time before Rattu is widely recognised as one of the Superleague’s best mid-courters.

Unsung Hero – Ashleigh Dekker
There has rightly been a lot of focus on Pulse’s new Vitality Roses, but a netball team is more than just four players, something Ashleigh Dekker embodies.

“She provides really strong performances every time she’s on the court,” said Bird.

“She plays really well and her leadership off the court when she’s on the bench, she’s really encouraging, she’s really supportive.

“She’s started her first job this year, she’s moved to London, had a whole load of stuff to deal with and she’s managed it brilliantly.

“She’s one of the most positive people in the squad, helping other midcourters and just being ready to play whenever required.”

Dekker has been a key cog in the Pulse mid-court alongside the likes of Ellie Rattu and Tayla Honey but has often gone under the radar.

Dekker’s all-court game has been invaluable to Pulse this season, and still just 23 years old, there’s still so much to come.

Best Performance – Mavericks, Spring Showdown
With Pulse’s season on a knife edge, they knew their two matches at the Spring Showdown would define their season.

Defeats against Lightning and Team Bath had halted Pulse’s momentum but they bounced back with wins against Wasps, and most crucially top four rivals Mavericks.

“That was the most important one,” said Bird.

“We’d lost to them in the first round and we were pretty disappointed with our performance, so to do really well against them on a double header weekend was really important.”

It proved to be a launching pad for a terrific end to the season for Pulse as Bird’s youngsters won five of their last six to ease into the play-offs.

Key Moments – Bath opening weekend, Mavs Spring Showdown
Alongside the victory over Mavericks in Round 14, Pulse’s Round 1 win over Team Bath was undoubtedly a big signal to the rest of the league that they meant business.

Sam Bird and her coaching team had placed a big emphasis on the game, and it paid dividends as the youngsters beat last season’s runners up.

“Our whole pre-season was planned around almost treating that opening weekend as a final for us,” said Bird.
“Two big teams to beat, six points that made a huge difference to us getting into the play-offs nice and early so we could be comfortable and focus on the business end of the season earlier than we might have done.”

In 3 Words
“Driven, Ambitious, Humble.”

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