Rising star finds a new Pulse

By James Perry

In an unusual move, Mila Reulu-Buchanan is leaving the ANZ Championship grand finalists Pulse to join competition cellar dwellers, the Northern Stars for the upcoming season.

The 20-year-old is looking for more court time in the hopes of gaining more exposure. 

"If you want to make it to the Silver Ferns you need game time, you need to show your goods, really," she says.

And she's willing to give up her position with the Pulse to get that time. 

"The wing attack that was in front of me she was still quite young, so she's got a lot of development to go to."

When she signed with the Auckland-based team, Silver Fern veteran Grace Kara (nee Rasmussen) was captain, and Temepara Bailey was assistant coach.

With Kara expecting her first child, Bailey came out of retirement and is now in a player-coach role.  Reuelu-Buchanan says with Kara and Bailey in the mix, "there's room for growth there being a young player".

Despite effectively competing for the same position, Reulu-Buchanan is benefiting from Bailey's return to the court and says they have "clicked" as team mates. 

"She's always got my back, always telling me if this is right, or if this is wrong and I just appreciate that.  I'm very, very lucky to have her as a teammate."

Reuelu-Buchanan admits to being a home girl from Porirua and initially found the move away from her parents, Awhina Buchanan and Danny Reuelu, a "big challenge". 

However she loves a challenge.  Her partner Jacob also stayed behind. 

"The first week was really hard.  I was crying myself to sleep every night," she laughs. 

However the world U21 championship winner is taking adjustments to her new life, professionally and personally in her stride. 

"I rely heavily on my mum and dad and my partner but it's just so awesome to be here on my own.  I've grown and I do my own washing and I do my own dishes."

Buchanan hopes the move will allow her to express herself on the court and get the exposure she needs to gain the attention of the Silver Ferns as they adjust to life under new coach, Noeline Taurua.