Great season for Southland netballer Aliyah Dunn
At a personal level, it’s hard to imagine Aliyah Dunn having a better year than the one she’s had in 2018.
Sure, her Pulse team wasn’t able to convert a dominant ANZ Premiership season into a title after letting a big lead slip away in the final against the Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel, but pretty much everything else has come up Millhouse for the 19-year-old.
The past year has gone by in a blur for the Invercargill-born netballer.
“I just kind of go with it though, onto the next thing,” Dunn says after another hard offseason training session in the Mike Piper Training Centre.
In her rookie season with the Pulse she landed 524 goals from 577 attempts to be fifth on the ANZ Premiership shooting stats, and only the Magic’s Lenize Potgeiter was more accurate (92% v 91%).
She made her Silver Ferns debut against South Africa in September and was part of New Zealand’s memorable win over Australia in Hamilton the following month - both season highlights - before leading the tournament scoring statistics as a developmental New Zealand team took out the Fast 5 Netball World Series in Melbourne.
And while it might rankle some that she’s running around in a Pulse uniform at the moment rather than Steel colours, Dunn remains rooted firmly in southern soil, as a former Verdon College netballer and graduate of Academy Southland.
Dunn credits Academy Southland for helping her make the transition from promising New Zealand secondary schools and under 21 player into the rigorous world of franchise netball and senior international play.
Showing up on time for meetings, planning, getting more comfortable with public speaking - lessons learnt during her time with the Academy have paid dividends at the next level.
So has the environment within the Pulse and the Silver Ferns, Dunn said.
“The Silver Ferns girls are really helpful. Because we were new, they made us feel really welcome and encouraged us to talk and to ask questions.”
Dunn loves the youthful nature of the Pulse squad, the diversity in Wellington and the fact she gets to work with legendary Silver Ferns shooter Irene van Dyk.
“She’s so cool. To learn from her is like the best thing ever, she gives me so many little pointers, the things that most people don’t notice.”