Netball: Family first for departing defender

Contemplating next year's move to Wellington at the Edgar Centre in Dunedin last night is Silver...
Contemplating next year's move to Wellington at the Edgar Centre in Dunedin last night is Silver Ferns and Southern Steel defender Katrina Grant. Photo by Gregor Richardson.
Silver Ferns and Steel defender Katrina Grant is putting family first and shifting to Wellington to play for the Central Pulse next season.

The 22-year-old is the fourth player to confirm she will not be playing for the Invercargill-based franchise next year.

Veteran defender Megan Hutton has retired, former Silver Ferns captain Adine Wilson is pregnant with her second child and shooter Donna Wilkins is not returning after indicating she was unhappy with the support she received from the franchise.

Grant, who moved to Dunedin four years ago to attend the University of Otago, said she was looking forward to a new challenge.

"I've been down here for four years and just thought I needed a bit of family and support around me," the Auckland-born player said.

"I've loved being in Invercargill and Dunedin the last few years but it was time for a move."

Grant has relatives in Wellington and her mother lives in Blenheim, so she is looking forward to seeing more of her family.

"Wellington is a city I've always loved and thought I'd eventually end up in."

Former Silver Fern Waimarama Taumaunu's decision to sign on as the team's new technical adviser, and the presence of former Rebels team-mate Hannah Broederlow and Otago team-mate Camilla Lees were other factors that lured her north.

Grant, who made her Silver Ferns debut in the 38-31 win over Australia in Auckland last year, will replace Jamaican import Althea Byfield, who is not expected back for a second season.

Grant played 14 games for the Otago Rebels and is the second-most-capped Steel player, with 26 appearances.

She plans to stay in Dunedin until January before relocating to the capital for the pre-season build-up.

Despite the Pulse's poor record, Grant believes the side is not far off the pace.

With more signings in the wind, the team could expect to climb the competition ladder, she said.

"I think the team has a lot of potential. They're young and a little inexperienced but I wouldn't be surprised if another one or two players sign. I think we'll definitely get more than one win next season.

"It's exciting and I can't wait."

Pulse chief executive Bridget Abernathy has hinted that Grant's signature is just the beginning, and she hopes the defender's decision to join the team will help sway others.

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