Cat Tuvaiti explains decision to move to Superleague with Sirens
"I feel like the older I get in this game, the more I realise that the knowledge I have - if I can't share it then it's not worth having."
By Sacha Shipway
Last Updated: 03/11/18 10:54pm
Cat Tuivaiti is a world-class goal shooter, with 24 Tests for New Zealand and 30 Tests for Samoa, now she's bringing her talent to the Vitality Superleague and she tells Sky Sports she can't wait to get started.
Tuivati's international experience, combined with 165 games across Australia and New Zealand playing for Northern Mystics, Central Pulse and Adelaide Thunderbirds, prove her quality.
Quite the fanfare greeted the September announcement that she would be the latest big name to head to the Strathclyde Sirens and it's no surprise that someone of Tuivaiti's calibre had her pick of Superleague teams after deciding to move to the UK.
With that much choice, why didn't she pick the easy option and go to double Superleague winners Wasps, or one of the top four teams from last season? She credits loyalty as to why she chose to go with the Scottish franchise.
"I had a couple of options," she tells Sky Sports.
"I think the Sirens won me over because I had had a few conversations with them a couple of years ago - when I told them I wasn't coming over, they were very respectful of my decision and they understood why I didn't want to come to England just yet.
"For people that don't know me, I'm fiercely loyal and incredibly respectful when it comes to things like that and so I gave them the respect of telling them I was coming to England and that I wanted to speak to them first and we met in the middle on almost everything - so here I am."
Sirens CEO Claire Nelson has made no secret of the fact that she wants Tuivaiti to rejuvenate the team who came ninth last year and are preparing for their third season in the competition.
Each team start the season with a top four target, but how does the Kiwi plan on achieving that?
"I think I can offer a different perspective of netball. I've got a very different, somewhat risky brand, but it's a little bit exciting.
"Netball's changing, you know - it is traditional, but there are gaps in the game that we can expose. I think I'm here to open their awareness and play a fun brand of netball."
Sirens are predominantly made up of Scottish Thistles players, with Australia's Gia Abernethy joining Tuivaiti as an import and she is aware that the national side will be building up to a Netball World Cup in Liverpool in July.
"I understand the situation - we've come here to try and give our flavour and try and be a part of something new for them.
"We know they have World Cup coming up, we know they're here to try and make a difference and yeah, that's basically what we're here for."
In order to move to Sirens, Tuivaiti made the decision to leave the world's best domestic netball league, where she played for the Adelaide Thunderbirds last season after recovering from an ACL injury.
The differing standard between the the UK and Australian leagues was something she considered before making her decision, but ultimately, she sees the big picture.
"When I was having my conversations about coming over to play in the Superleague, a lot of people did lead into conversations with me about the level.
"I feel like it doesn't need that much respect that we can talk about how big the gap is - I think if we just keep working on closing the gap, that's all we can do.
"I feel like the older I get in this game, the more I realise that the knowledge I have - if I can't share it then it's not worth having. I think there is definitely a gap. But it is only for our own intentions that we just need to keep giving back to this game and really make it more exciting to watch because the gap is closing.
"England have come a little bit closer than the rest of us would like. Jamaica, Malawi, everyone's closing in and I think it's great for the sport. I'm grateful to still be a part of it while it's really closing in."
A new netball world order has changed the sport in both England and New Zealand. It's no secret that up until about four weeks ago, the Silver Ferns had what was probably their most challenging international season to date, notably coming away from the Commonwealth Games without a medal for the first time and dropping to third in the world rankings.
This month they've beaten Australia in one of the Constellation Cup tests, as well as having taken their seventh Fast5 World Series title but, as a former Silver Fern, watching the side does not come easy to Tuivaiti.
"Because I understand there was a massive two years where things just weren't going right, it's hard for me to watch the game and understand that they're trying to fix things as well as prepare for something that's coming up - something that's real hard and fast, which is the World Cup.
"So it's a little confusing, I feel like we only have a little bit of time to trial, so I watch it with so many mixed emotions. I do think the fact that England have won has thrown a spanner into the works and the rest of the world are freaking out - which is great for netball.
"New Zealand will find their feet and I do trust that Noeline (Taurua - Silver Ferns head coach) knows what she's doing as much as sometimes we watch her and we don't understand it.
"She of all people knows what's going on and how it's going to turn out so yeah, I have my full trust and backing in the Silver Ferns that they're going to come back and give everyone a fright."
England are back in action on home soil and on Sky Sports Action later this month with the three-Test Series against Uganda which gets underway on Thursday November 27 at Liverpool's Echo Arena.
A huge 2019 will feature another thrilling Vitality Superleague which is just two months away and starts with the Super 10 on Saturday January 5. live on Sky Sports.
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