Beach Ferns Shaunna Polley and Alice Zeimann go into the Commonwealth Games with two years playing together on the world tour behind them, and are ready to put that experience to the test in Birmingham.
"I think we're really on track. We've had a long time overseas, with some really high level games, making main draws at tournaments or going close, so we're perfectly ready for the Games. We're both feeling good, the bodies are good and we're super excited," said Shaunna Polley.
This will be Polley's second Commonwealth Games, while Zeimann has come up through the US College system, where she played for University of Minnesota and Florida State. The pair travelled together through the 2021 season, which helped accelerate their partnership.
"Our partnership is always evolving and growing - we've learned so much in the last year, being on tour and going from not knowing each other to living together, sleeping in the same room and spending all your meals together. So we got really close really fast," said Alice Zeimann.
"I've definitely looked to her to lead more, I trust her judgement a lot as she's so experienced. I'd say I'm more loud and she's more calm, but but I think it balances each other out. We push each other and have high expectations of each other too, so it's just a lot of mutual respect. We have a lot of fun together too!" said Zeimann.
"Alice can get very fiery and passionate on the court, whereas I'm more of a slow burner - like start off quiet but when something triggers me did I get pretty firey as well! I'm a bit more reserved in terms of my emotions, but I'm not afraid to leave it out there when I need to," said Shaunna Polley.
The pair start their games campaign Sunday morning New Zealand time, and will face Kenya, Ghana and big guns Canada in their pool at the Birmingham city courts.
"We've a really good idea about the other teams, and know what they're capable of, and we've got some really solid game plans going into the tournament. It's going to be amazing to be part of it an, see the athletes from all around the world and make some new friends. We're so grateful to have Jason and the support of family and friends as well as Volleyball NZ and our sponsors like Future Wood," said Shaunna Polley,.
"We're really good friends with some of the Australian and Canadians, and have trained together with some of the non-Games teams. We have a lot of respect for them, it'll be super competitive and we're really looking forward to the chance of playing them, because they're world class teams," said Alice Zeimann.