Netball: Central Pulse shooter Te Amo Amaru-Tibble relishing filling Silver Ferns captain Ameliaranne Ekenasio's shoes

For Central Pulse shooter Te Amo Amaru-Tibble, her return to the side this year was supposed to be about impact off the bench.

That's now changed with regular starter Ameliaranne Ekenasio out for the season and expecting her second child. 

A member of the Pulse back in 2017, 32-year-old Amaru-Tibble returned this season in a limited role off the bench.

But Ekenasio's absence means Amaru-Tibble is a regular starter for the Pulse - something she wasn't expecting at the start of the season.

"Absolutely not," Amaru-Tibble tells Newshub.

"I think everything else out there, that's a netball fan wouldn't have expected that either."

It's valuable experience Pulse coach Gail Parata is relishing in the shooting circle. 

"She's a really, really smart netballer," Parata says.

"She's just to use the strength that she has, which is the smarts that she brings."

And while she's happy to step in for Ekenasio, Amaru-Tibble is fully aware the shooting bib belongs to the Silver Ferns captain. 

"As a shooter, she is the top netballer in the world.

"It'd be hard for any goal shoot to step into her shoes and try to recreate her game."

Big shoes to fill but a challenge Amaru-Tibble is up for for the defending champions.