The latest news & updates from the Silver Ferns

Silver Ferns set for trans-Tasman battle

It’s early days, but it’s time for the new-look Silver Ferns to get some runs on the board against Australia.  

This month’s Constellation Cup series throws up four golden opportunities – the first in Brisbane on Sunday, followed by Townsville on Wednesday. The teams then cross the Tasman for the final two tests of the year in Hamilton and Wellington.

Noeline Taurua says she won’t be happy unless the Silver Ferns win at least one of these games, while adding there’s no reason why they can’t win the Cup. That would be quite some achievement, given New Zealand has won it only once – in 2012.

Last year’s series marked the beginning of a horror run for New Zealand – and all involved will be wanting to close the door firmly on that chapter. This team is on the receiving end of significant goodwill for a myriad of reasons. It includes the appointment of Taurua, the return of Laura Langman, and a national wish that after enduring a hellish 2018, the Silver Ferns end the year on a rise. But they have to start winning.

Taurua has made it clear her job is to win the 2019 Netball World Cup. To do that, she has to find the right combinations and the only way to do that is to put players on court and see if they gel. 

Ameliaranne Ekenasio, Elisapeta Toeava and Karin Burger have gone from the Quad Series 12, and in come Maia Wilson, Erikana Pedersen and Sulu Fitzpatrick.

Wilson was always likely to be given a chance in this series. She shot more goals than anyone else in the ANZ Premiership with 89% accuracy, and rarely puts a foot wrong. 

For Fitzpatrick, her decision to leave her family in Auckland and head to the Central Pulse for the 2018 season has paid off. She’s been given the chance to add to her sole test cap which he won way back in 2011. No doubt her Central Pulse defensive combination with Katrina Grant was a key factor in the selectors’ minds.

Pedersen’s name is the one which might surprise a few. The Tactix midcourter gets the nod on the back of a strong ANZ Premiership and will want to make the most of the opportunity.

The Australian Diamonds are virtually the same as those the Silver Ferns faced in the Quad Series.

But one change of particular interest to New Zealanders has come about due to the withdrawal from the side of Kim Ravaillion. Kate Moloney will fill her shoes in the two Tests on Australian soil, but it will be Jamie-Lee Price who has the chance to make her Australian debut in the Tests on this side of the Tasman.

What’s more that debut could come at Hamilton’s Claudelands Arena, Price’s home court during her time with the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic. The 22-year-old has many connections thanks to her 13 years living in this country, including playing with Maia Wilson at Mt Albert Grammar School.

The scoreline between these two countries was five goals in the recent Netball Quad Series – a big improvement on the 65-44 thumping at the Commonwealth Games in April. The need now is for that improvement to continue.