December 2, 2010 at 10:32 pm #301116
Thwaites gets another shot at big time
The Dominion Post
CRAIG SIMCOX/The Dominion Post
PAYING ATTENTION: Caitlin Thwaites (right) the new import player for the Pulse, with coach Yvette McCausland-Durie.
Last year, goal shoot Caitlin Thwaites played every match for the Melbourne Vixens. That campaign culminated with victory over the Adelaide Thunderbirds in the grand final of the trans-Tasman competition, with Thwaites then rewarded with selection in the Australian squad.
Next year she’ll play for the Pulse.
A dramatic fall from grace, you might think. But not according to Thwaites. “I suppose I was getting the hint that I wasn’t going to be valued as much anymore, so I started putting the feelers out and seeing what my options were,” she said.
“At that stage I was probably more looking to go to another Australian team, but the reality is that there’s not many goal shooting positions available over there. Two of them are massive Jamaican chicks and the other three spots are taken up by Australian representatives.
“In terms of liveable cities, Wellington has been absolutely amazing and I love it here.”
Thwaites used the example of another former Australian and Vixens player to clarify what she meant. “Natasha Chokljat, she’s gone down to Invercargill [to play for the Steel] and I’m not sure how she’s going to find it down there. She’s a bit of a party girl, so it’ll be interesting to see how she copes in a much smaller town than Melbourne.”
Living in an apartment on The Terrace, Thwaites spends plenty of time on Lambton Quay when she’s not enduring the Pulse twice-daily training sessions. Aside from her digs, the team has thrown in a car and kept her fridge full of tucker. The players have also tried hard not to remind her that New Zealand are the Commonwealth Games netball champions. About the only one to have momentarily forgotten that final edict, was Pulse captain and Silver Ferns defender Katrina Grant.
“The first time I saw Pole [Grant] I was like `congratulations, you played so well’ and she was kind of like `yeah, stick that up ya’,” Thwaites said.
Thwaites said that was an indication of the kind of winning mentality she and Grant are determined to foster at the Pulse.
“I’m 23, but I’ve had eight years of experience in the national league and playing with people like Sharelle [McMahon], you can’t really buy that. So if I’m able to help out some of the girls, then I’m more than happy,” Thwaites said.
“[Coach] Yvette [McCausland-Durie] has been really good, in terms of being open to different opinions and learning things as well.”
Working out how athletes and teams tick is a fascination for Thwaites. Two papers short of a bachelor of psychology, her interest in that field dates back to her time as a member of the Australian Institute of Sport’s volleyball programme.
Even if the black “balance band” she wears on her right wrist, along with every second athlete, indicates she can be conned as happily as the rest of us.
“My boyfriend got it for me … I think it’s a bit of bullshit, really. But there’s no such thing as a placebo; if people think it’s helping, it’s helping.”
Thwaites said McCausland-Durie had set a goal for the Pulse of finishing sixth in the 10-team league, but that won’t do her.
“I won’t be happy with a loss. I’m here to win. If we can get four or five wins, that’ll definitely have us in the top four. That’s our aim [as players] and we’re really going to push and get as much out of each other as we can.”
AT A GLANCE
Name: Caitlin Thwaites
Born: Bendigo, Victoria
Height: 1.88 metres
Position: Goal shoot
Teams: Australia, Melbourne Vixens, Melbourne Kestrels, Australia under-21 and under-19
Personal: Lifelong Essendon Bombers Aussie Rules fan: “I had no choice. My nan knitted me a jumper before I was born.”December 2, 2010 at 10:37 pm #471779
If we can get four or five wins, that’ll definitely have us in the top four.
Ummmm, I hope there was some sort of misquoting or misunderstanding there, because otherwise, that’s pretty shocking maths. You need at least 7 wins to make the top 4, and more likely 8.
And as we said about other people who are talking up their team, it’s good to be positive, but obviously it’s not that realistic.
I’d REALLY like to see her do well against Vixens, but chances are that they’ll get absolutely smashed no matter how well she goes in that game.December 2, 2010 at 10:48 pm #471780
Not sure if it is the outfit or whether she has lost weight – looks as though she has although it may not last as
the team has thrown in a car and kept her fridge full of tucker.
Maybe being dropped from Vixens is what she needed to motivate her again. I hope she goes well this year.December 2, 2010 at 10:49 pm #471781
Yes, was thinking 4 or 5 sounded way too low. Maybe ‘in the mix to make the top 4′ if those 4 or 5 wins are early in the season…
But realistically I can’t see them taking a win off any teams apart from maybe Fever or Tactix.December 3, 2010 at 12:00 am #471782
“I suppose I was getting the hint that I wasn’t going to be valued as much anymore”
I’m guessing that was when the benched you for being unfit? She is looking good in the photo above. I think what happened at the Vixens was the kick in the pants that she needed. I’m hoping she can bounce back and have a good season, but I wouldn’t be suprised if she crumbles a little from loosing every week.
Suprised to see her in a VIS top. I know the TBirds girls only where TBirds merchandise when training.December 3, 2010 at 1:11 am #471783
I quite like Caitlin. Will be nice to see her playing in a different side I think, and by the sounds of this, she’s settling in nicely. :DDecember 3, 2010 at 3:57 am #471784
I think what happened at the Vixens was the kick in the pants that she needed.
I hope so too. It was like her attitude was ‘just how many premierships does a girl need?’ which wouldn’t go down well with the Vixens ethos!December 3, 2010 at 9:13 am #471785
Funny. I don’t think she looks much different.December 3, 2010 at 9:16 am #471786
Yeah me neither. The top is just loose.December 3, 2010 at 9:39 am #471787
always knew she was a sick puppie…. :vomit a bombers supporter.December 3, 2010 at 11:49 am #471788
Yeah me neither. The top is just loose.
Late last season she started looking uncomfortably large, she looks like she is back to what she did in her prime.December 4, 2010 at 8:05 am #471789
She will be a good asset for the Pulse. Should be interesting to see how she copes.
Would anyone like to try to predict what McCausland Durie will choose for her starting lineup?December 4, 2010 at 9:31 am #471790
I may have forgotten about a few of the players. Would maybe slot Manu in at WD instead of Lichtwark.December 4, 2010 at 8:26 pm #471791
Hopefully Topia is at her best again. Won’t stand a single chance otherwise.December 4, 2010 at 9:32 pm #471792
Where’s your predicted lineup, Sarah? :D
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