Silver Ferns Team Announced For Netball Quad Series In January
Silver Ferns coach Dame Noeline Taurua has named a team of 14 for the Silver Ferns’ first overseas trip in two years as their Commonwealth Games campaign begins.
Recalled Silver Ferns and two debutantes feature in the side which heads to England next month to take on Australia, South Africa, and the host side in the Netball Quad Series at Copper Box Arena in London from January 16-20 (NZT).
Defenders Phoenix Karaka and Kayla Johnson, who are both returning to the game after becoming mums for the first time, are set to wear the black dress again while Mystics ANZ Premiership winning shooter Filda Vui and Stars versatile midcourter Mila Reuelu-Buchanan have been elevated to the Silver Ferns for the first time.
Taurua said all four players performed at the Ferns’ three-day trials camp in Wellington this week, bringing plenty of energy to the environment and thoroughly deserved their place in the touring squad.
It is the first time in two years that the Silver Ferns will travel overseas, due to the global pandemic which has had a significant impact on the international netball calendar, and Taurua said the Netball Quad Series would be a key step in their journey to next year’s Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
“We’ve got our eyes on the Commonwealth Games and with only seven months to go we cannot underestimate the importance of this Netball Quad Series. We have an opportunity to play three other world-class teams and build on what we have already achieved this year,” she said.
“This may also be the only chance that we have to work through some of the logistics that come with overseas travel and what our athletes will face when it comes to July’s Commonwealth Games, so we need to ensure we take all of the learnings both on and off court with the goal of getting the best out of the Silver Ferns in seven months.”
Taurua said it had been encouraging to see the progress of a number of players at the three-day camp including the return of both Karaka and Johnson to the Silver Ferns environment.
“As new mums this Silver Ferns camp has been a new experience for Phoenix and Kayla but both athletes made the most of their opportunities on court and deserve their place back in the black dress with the chance to push their claim for a spot at the Commonwealth Games,” she said.
“It hasn’t been an easy road for either one of them but that determination, experience and desire to wear the Silver Fern stood out this week.”
She said Vui brought a fearless approach to the court and her rise through the ranks was reward for resilience and the hard yards she had put in this season, while Reuelu-Buchanan had been on the fringes for a number of years and her versatility through the midcourt added something different to the Ferns mix.
“Both Filda and Mila really put their hands up for selection with the energy and explosive play that they delivered this week. They have demonstrated the PURE values which are at the core of being a Silver Fern and I’m really excited to see how they perform against world class opponents.”
Dynamic midcourter Maddy Gordon was ruled out of selection with a minor knee injury and will undergo a managed programme to return to the court.
The travelling party also includes Te Aroha Keenan who has been named as the Silver Ferns touring assistant coach for the Netball Quad Series, current Silver Ferns assistant coach Deb Fuller was unavailable for the Northern Tour but continues to be a key member of the management team.
The four nations will play each other once before final placings to be decided with a third and fourth playoff and a final, with all matches broadcast live on Sky Sport.
Silver Ferns - Netball Quad Series Team
Gina Crampton (captain)
Netball Quad Series Schedule (all in NZ time)
3am – England vs South Africa
5.15am – Silver Ferns vs Australia
Monday 17 January
3am – Australia vs South Africa
5.15am – Silver Ferns vs England
6.30am – Silver Ferns vs South Africa
8.30am – England vs Australia
6.30am – 3rd vs 4th
8.30am – Final