Born-again Saint seeks fourth flag

KOROIT mid-courter Carly Pulling will line up for the Saints today against her former Warrnambool teammates.

Back at Koroit after a season with Warrnambool, Carly Pulling knows the Saints’ unbeaten home-and-away record is no guarantee of finals success.120901LP11 Picture: LEANNE PICKETT

Back at Koroit after a season with Warrnambool, Carly Pulling knows the Saints’ unbeaten home-and-away record is no guarantee of finals success.120901LP11 Picture: LEANNE PICKETT

But all rivalries will be cast aside tonight when she goes to the Blues’ ball.

“I am still good friends with them,” she said.

Pulling, 19, returned to Koroit this season after a one-year stint at Warrnambool.

The three-time Saints premiership player, who won her first A grade flag at 15, always planned to return to Victoria Park but admits it happened earlier than expected.

She left in a bid to get more court time and this year she’s averaged between three and four quarters a game for the ladder-leading Saints.

Pulling said she wanted to establish herself in the talent-laden Saints side and become more than a bench player.

“I think I started the season pretty good but there was three or four weeks in a row that I was pretty disappointed with how I played and I wasn’t performing how I wanted to,” she said.

Pulling admitted the undefeated Saints also had a bit of a lull.

“We’re not hiding from that,” she said.

“We had a massive talk.”

Pulling, who is taking a gap year, said she relished playing against reigning premier North Warrnambool Eagles last weekend.

The Saints registered their second win over the Eagles this season but still have last year’s shock grand final defeat spurring them on.

“It was good to get out there and have a good battle, physically and skill-wise,” Pulling said of the round-14 fixture.

“We are not thinking we have it (the flag) in the bag.

“We are actually quite nervous — anything can happen, the same thing can happen again.

“I think we have a bit more youth this year and versatility.”

Pulling’s sporting resume would be the envy of many.

She has enjoyed success in both netball and basketball. 

Her three A grade flags, won in 2010, ’11 and ’12, and two Big V titles, collected in 2011 and ’12, belie her age.

This is second consecutive season she hasn’t had to juggle both sports.

Before that, basketball took priority.

But Pulling is ready to return to basketball, having signed with the Mermaids’ Country Basketball League team which will play during summer.

Big V became too big a commitment but she hasn’t ruled out a return in the long term.

“It was two nights a week training and taking up whole weekends,” she said.

“I was missing out on friends’ birthdays and different events.

“The CBL is like a six-game thing and it’s pretty spread out.

“I will use it to see if I want to play again. I do miss the physicality of it and that type of thing.” 

In other games, Portland’s finals credentials will be tested against second-placed North Warrnambool Eagles at Hanlon Park, third-placed Hamilton Kangaroos host fourth-placed South Warrnambool in what looms as an intriguing battle, Camperdown faces Port Fairy in a must-win game to keep its top-five hopes flickering and Terang Mortlake and Cobden clash in a battle for pride.

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