New Trident Homes Tactix signing Erikana Pedersen says it was an easy decision to step back into the red-and-black midcourt for the 2024 ANZ Premiership.
Pedersen’s return has been confirmed by the Tactix this week and she will bib up for the side from the Mainland for the first time since 2021.
She said a conversation with coach Marianne Delaney-Hoshek was enough to realise there was still a “small fire in me which grew” with thoughts of stepping back on the Premiership court, her last outing in New Zealand’s elite domestic league in 2022 as injury cover for the Central Pulse.
“I stepped away feeling content with what I had achieved in the ANZ Premiership and felt excited about life after netball,” she said. “It wasn’t until a chat with Marianne about the opportunity to play again that I realised there was still a small fire in me that grew with the thought of playing again.
“I thought ‘if I looked back at this moment when I’m 70, what would I regret more – taking this opportunity or turning it down’, and that made it a pretty easy decision.”
Pedersen said one of the major factors in returning was that she was saying ‘yes’ to a team that was “close to my heart” in a city which she referred to as her second home.
She will team up with Sinclair, Kimiora Poi and Paris Lokotui through the middle and was looking forward to working with the trio.
“Apart from Greer (Sinclair), I have played with everyone so I’m hopeful that connections will still be there, and we can build on them to make them stronger,” she said.
“When you look at our midcourt with Paris, Greer, Kimi and myself, it’s really exciting knowing that we can switch things up to produce something totally different. All three of them have power and speed to burn and I’m hoping I can just bring a steady and calm presence.”
Winning a Premiership for the Tactix was also part of the driver in returning to the region having come close on two occasions with the side, but it was not her only goal for a new campaign.
“It’s always nice when you come away from a season having grown as a player and as a person as well. Stepping away from the Tactix and ANZ in 2021 after making two finals but not coming away with the win was something I was really gutted about,” she said.
“I’ve been here through the struggles, and I would love to bring the trophy back to the Mainland region because they have been through a lot over the years.”
Tactix coach Marianne Delaney-Hoshek said she was excited to have Pedersen back in the midcourt mix and looked forward to working with her again.
“Erikana brings so much experience back into this area of the court and another level of leadership to our group,” she said. “She has always impressed with her knowledge on court and her feeding on attack will only benefit all of the hard work that has been done in that area this year.
“We know the value that she adds to the Tactix’ game which is an exciting element to our 2024 squad.”