Combinations key for Constellation Cup
The Silver Ferns have made changes in all areas of the court as they prepare for the Constellation Cup with one eye on next year’s Netball World Cup in July 2019.
Silver Ferns head coach Noeline Taurua has introduced three new players to the New Zealand side which went down by just five goals to the Australian Diamonds last month.
Young shooter Maia Wilson will be looking to add to her seven Test caps when she replaces Ameliaranne Ekenasio in the shooting circle while both Sulu Fitzpatrick and Erikana Pedersen (Silver Ferns Development Squad) have been rewarded for their performances in the ANZ Premiership this year and their form at the Silver Ferns camp this week.
The trio have been included for the four Test series against the Australian Diamonds which starts in Brisbane on Sunday.
Wilson is well known for her accuracy in the circle and court craft continues to grow after another strong season with the Northern Stars.
Fitzpatrick, who gained her one Test cap as a teenager back in 2011, will join Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse team-mate Katrina Grant in the defensive circle against the Australian Diamonds. The duo combined as a formidable defensive wall during the ANZ Premiership and could be another option for Taurua.
Pedersen is another to be called in from outside the Silver Ferns squad after a stellar season with the Mainland Tactix as she brings a different style to the wing attack position.
Taurua said the Silver Ferns were focussed on delivering quality netball during the Constellation Cup but she also wanted to look at various combinations as they continue their build-up to next year’s Netball World Cup in England.
“There are limited opportunities to see how our players perform against the best in the world, but we also have to be mindful that we want to build on the performances that the Silver Ferns have produced so far,” Taurua said.
“We want to have a look at combinations and what those players bring to the mix.”
Taurua has had her entire squad in camp this week, including defenders Kelly Jury and Casey Kopua who were both ruled out of the series as they continue their injury rehabilitation.
The Constellation Cup moves to Townsville next week before heading to Hamilton on October 14 and Wellington on October 18.
Silver Ferns to play in Constellation Cup:
Laura Langman (captain)
Te Paea Selby-Rickit
Constellation Cup Series:
October 7 – Brisbane, Australia
October 10 – Townsville, Australia
October 14 – Hamilton, New Zealand
October 18 – Wellington, New Zealand