Moata’ane relieved to finally be back on the paddock

Kilisitina Moata’ane gets ready to train with the Otago Spirit before its first game of the Farah...
Kilisitina Moata’ane gets ready to train with the Otago Spirit before its first game of the Farah Palmer Cup. PHOTO: GREGOR RICHARDSON
Kilisitina Moata’ane is looking forward to pulling on her jersey today.

It is something that has kept her going this year.

The 22-year-old midfielder admits her motivation began to waver during lockdown.

A contracted Black Ferns player, she had plenty of training to keep up with.

But with no games in sight, it became difficult at one point.

Reminding herself why she played — pulling on both the black and blue jerseys — was important in pushing through.

Getting back in camp with the Black Ferns had helped with that.

But tomorrow she will finally see the real purpose of all that training.

The Otago Spirit opens its Farah Palmer Cup campaign against Hawke’s Bay in an empty Forsyth Barr Stadium.

"At one stage I did feel like training was a chore," Moata’ane, a full-time teacher aide at Otago Girls’ High School, said.

"There was no purpose of going further, there was no rugby or short-term goal.

"So just staying on top of my feet, keeping that love for the game there.

"Keeping that reason why you do play for the jersey, why you train, why you turn up.

"Just making sure there’s always a purpose."

Having debuted for the Spirit in 2014, Moata’ane is now one of the side’s more experienced players.

Alongside becoming an integral weapon in the middle of the park, she also brings that international experience to the group.

Last year she finally made her test debut, having twice previously been set to before being ruled out by injury.

But with no tests scheduled at present due to Covid-19, her focus was firmly on the Spirit.

It was a side that had lost some of its experience — Sheree Hume and Greer Muir are two of the notable absentees.

Moata’ane admitted missing them, although was enjoying having a new injection of young talent in the side.

It had gone well in its pre-season match last week against three-time premiership defending champion Canterbury in Timaru.

Otago lost 56-47, but had won the first two of three 30 minutes thirds — the final third being when it used many of its younger players.

Tomorrow’s game would be a rematch of last year’s championship division final, which the Spirit had won.

The format was slightly different this year — teams were divided into north and south divisions rather than premiership and championship.

The Spirit is without captain Tegan Hollows, who is sidelined with a shoulder injury.

Farah Palmer Cup

Forsyth Barr Stadium, tomorrow, 12.30pm
Otago: Hinemoa Watene, Kiana Wereta, Amy du Plessis, Kilisitina Moata’ane, Teilah 
Ferguson, Rosie Kelly, Rosie Buchanan-Brown, Morgan Henderson, Zoe Whatarau, 
Bree Thomas, Julia Gorinski, Kate Smith, Eilis Doyle, Gemma Millar, Isla Pringle. 
Reserves: Paige Church, Lucy Cahill, Maddie Feaunati, Leah Miles, Maia Joseph, 
France Bloomfield, Trisha Hopcroft.
Hawke’s Bay: Cortez Te Pou, Kaitlan Bates, Amelia Pasikala, Michaela Baker, Tori 
Iosefo, Krysten Cottrell, Emma Jensen, Kathleen Brown, Niamh Jefferson, Laurae 
Blake, Lara Kendrick, Nina Pineaha, Whitley Mareikura, Forne Burkin, Iukika Faavae. 
Reserves: Amber McKenzie, Patrice Mareikura, Kara Huata, Denise Aiolupotea, Hope 
Hakopa, Shaylee Tipiwai, Jaimee Robin.

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