Silver Ferns Named To Meet Commonwealth Games Champs
Shooter Monica Falkner is the only uncapped player named in the Silver Ferns team to take on Commonwealth Games champions England.
The 24-year-old has marked an incredible return from injury to earn her place in the side to meet the England Roses in Hamilton next week for what will be the first international netball Test to be played this year since the COVID-19 pandemic.
Silver Ferns coach Dame Noeline Taurua said she was delighted to be able to name her team of twelve and was looking forward to taking on the Commonwealth Games gold medallists.
“I think this series is a significant moment for netball globally in what has been one of the most challenging seasons,” she said.
“To be able to play the first international Netball Test match post COVID is testimony to the hard work that has gone on behind the scenes and from a wide group of athletes. I would like to pay kudos to the Roses, who have committed to this Series especially factoring in travel and quarantining it shows a massive commitment to our sport."
Taurua said it had been a demanding three weeks leading into this announcement, which had included two intensive training camps where she had worked with over 40 high performance athletes.
“It’s been amazing to have seen so many players competing in that cauldron of high performance,” she said.
“There have certainly been players who have grasped that opportunity with both hands and absorbed as much as they can to be able to put their best foot forward.”
One of those was rookie shooter Grace Nweke who has been named as a training partner for the Silver Ferns for the three-Test series against England.
Taurua said she had been pleased with the progress made by the 18-year-old but was also mindful about letting her grow in the professional environment.
“We’ve been working a lot with Grace, she is such a sponge in our environment and learning our structures, she has really embraced being in Silver Ferns environment," Taurua said.
“Now it’s about ensuring that she is well supported moving forward and so that she can consolidate her core fundamentals of her role."
The Silver Ferns will take three shooters into the series including captain Ameliaranne Ekenasio who was rested for part of the Cadbury Netball Series.
Falkner’s inclusion comes after a 15-month injury layoff due to a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament in her knee.
“Monica has shown her desire to be here and wear the black dress,” Taurua said.
“We’ve been really pleased with what she has put out on court and what she brings to our shooting circle.”
Taurua has named five midcourters while the defence quartet includes Kelly Jury who also returns from injury to add to her 22 Test caps.
Bailey Mes, Katrina Rore, Temalisi Fakahokotau and Te Paea Selby-Rickit remain on managed programmes with the Silver Ferns medical team, and are expected to resume international duties in early 2021.
The Silver Ferns meet England in the Cadbury Netball Series, with the Taini Jamison Trophy on the line, in Hamilton on 28 & 30 October, and 1 November, with live coverage on Sky Sport 3 and delayed on Prime.
Tickets are available now through Ticketek.
Ameliaranne Ekenasio (captain)