New Central Pulse netball coach Yvette McCausland-Durie today confirmed star signings Althea Byfield and Paula Griffin would play for the beleaguered franchise in next year's trans-Tasman league.
McCausland-Durie named her 12-strong squad today, with Jamaican international Byfield and Silver Fern Griffin key to Pulse's chances in next year's league.
The Pulse had been hit by a series of blows beginning early last month when former coach Kate Carpenter was sacked, one year into her three-year contract.
She took a case for unjustified dismissal against the Pulse and Netball New Zealand (NNZ) to the Employment Relations Authority. The case was settled privately.
The cash-strapped franchise failed to win any of their 13 games in the ANZ Championship's inaugural year, and sought a financial bailout from NNZ to tide it over for the 2009 season.
Because of McCausland-Durie's late appointment - she was confirmed in the position three weeks ago - the Pulse was granted an 18-day extension to finalise their playing roster.
The squad contains a sprinkling of players from last year's roster, including midcourters Cushla Lichtwark and Neesha Weiser, and shooter Jamilah Gupwell.
Lichtwark was last Friday named as one of four players in NNZ's new high performance back-up group, an accelerant group overseen by national coach Ruth Aitken and considered to have the potential to be included in the Silver Ferns programme by 2011.
Another new Pulse signing, national under-21 midcourter and former Otago player Camilla Lees is also in the accelerant group.
The Pulse squad has a solid representation of national under-21 representatives, including shooters Larissa Harrison and Te Amo Amaru-Tibble, and defender Hannah Broederlow.
They have also picked up former Canterbury Tactix defender Bessie Manu.
McCausland-Durie said she was thrilled to be able to finalise the team.
"I'm really pleased with the mix of youth and experience we have been able to secure. We have a number of players from the central region as well as our first Silver Fern to be signed to the Pulse and the experienced Jamaican defender Althea Byfield," she said.
The squad has begun their conditioning programmes and will commence full-team training in January. The Pulse's first match next season is against the Southern Steel in Invercargill on April 4.
The squad is:
Shooters: Paula Griffin, Jamilah Gupwell, Larissa Harrison, Te Amo Amaru-Tibble. Midcourt: Cushla Lichtwark, Neesha Weiser, Camilla Lees, Ngarama Milner. Defenders: Althea Byfield, Hannah Broederlow, Bessie Manu, Katie King.