Netball: It's in reach for Henry

By Julie Ash

"I am jack of all trades, master of none," chuckles Joline Henry.

Her assessment is a little harsh, she may be a women of many talents, but a master of none? Definitely not.

The likeable Henry is a goal defence most international teams wouldn't mind having.

But with the world championships less than a year away, the Silver Ferns selectors are looking to fine-tune their squad.

Henry has been told to not only pursue her opportunities at wing defence but also put up a few shots in case she is needed at goal attack.

"So I am going from the circle, to trying to cement wing defence, to making sure that I have goal attack covered as well," she laughs.

"Let's just say I have plenty of homework for the next however-long."

Not that she is complaining.

"I am just looking forward to making the most of those opportunities, trying to learn a new position and put my hand up and say, 'I can play in the circle as well as outside it and am a real asset to the team'.

Henry played wing defence against Australia in the second test in July when Laura Langman was moved into centre. Considering how different the role is from circle defence, she did okay.

"There are little things that make the world of difference and will only come with time and experience," says Henry.

"The really good thing about the team is everyone is good at fostering ... there is so much support, they don't say a bad thing about you even if you are playing like a goober."

Henry started off as a shooter but former Otago and New Zealand under-21 coach Georgina Salter thought she'd be a good defender, and moved her in the lead-up to the 2000 world youth championships.

With New Zealand rich in defenders, Henry is perhaps wondering if she should have stayed put.

"Jodi Te Huna said to me not so long ago, 'Buddy, maybe you should come back down the other end, there are opportunities there. You have got it you just need time'.

"I said to her, 'thanks for the faith you have in me but it would be a big ask'."

Too big an ask?

"All I'd have to do would be sink the shots. I think my ability to get the ball would be okay, it would just need sharpening up and getting the shots in."

She last played goal attack for the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic in the 2003 National Bank Cup.

"That was a bit of a shock, to be quite honest."

Before that was for the Western Flyers in 2000.

Born and raised in Wanganui, Henry moved to Hamilton to do a sport and leisure degree and a bachelor of social science majoring in psychology. She is now doing a masters in social science.

Her time in Waikato has been successful.

In every year but one they have made the final at nationals, and in the National Bank Cup the Magic have been the top team for the past two years.

"It is a fantastic place and the whole culture in the Magic and Waikato team is very family orientated. It is just a different culture and very much fosters learning and improving and looking after young people which are aligned with my own values."

But her career hasn't all been roses.

Having made her debut for the Silver Ferns in 2004 she missed out on a place in this year's Commonwealth Games team.

"It tests your want to be there. It certainly reaffirmed my ambition to be a Silver Fern. You take nothing for granted when that happens to you. You appreciate everything like going to training and it being viewed an opportunity to get better, an opportunity to show selectors that you deserve to be there, an opportunity to improve your link with someone ... just little things, like as opposed to it just being another training."

Henry, who seems to appear leaner and more muscular every time you see her, said that like many players, she has struggled with lapses in her performance.

"It is just something that you get with experience and time at that level. I still have lots of lapses but I am improving.

"I have been seeing [sports psychologist] Rod Corban who has done a lot of work with the rowing team and he has given me a lot of strategies which I found useful."

It's going to be a challenge but making the world championship team is Henry's goal.

"World champs, that's the pinnacle. If it was easy everyone would be doing it, so it will be so much sweeter if it happens."

JOLINE HENRY

Born: Wanganui, September 29, 1982
Height: 1.83m
Positions: GD, GK, WD
Occupation: Studying for a masters in social science

Career highlights:
2003-06: Silver Ferns squad
2002-06: Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic
2001-06: Waikato

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