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Commentator’s Call: Ferns packed with experience

The careers of several experienced Silver Ferns have been resurrected with the naming of the team for the Vitality Netball World Cup in Liverpool.

Maturity oozes from this side of 12 and for those of us who watched the sometimes excruciating spectacle on the Gold Coast last year, that experience will be like a comforting blanket.

When things unravelled at the Commonwealth Games, there weren’t enough leaders in the team with the ability to right ship. That should not be the case in Liverpool. 

There are no fewer than 781 Test caps in this side, including four centurions. A bonus is those players Maria Folau (138), Laura Langman (151), Katrina Rore (125) and Casey Kopua (104) , are spread throughout the court offering leadership in each third.

There will be much talk about the selection of Bailey Mes in the fourth shooter position. Mes is something of an enigma, but has come good in the latter parts of the season. Her ability to play GS, GA and WA will no doubt have worked in her favour and her fitness can never be questioned.

Katrina Rore, Te Paea Selby-Rickit, Shannon Saunders and Phoenix Karaka have been rewarded for strong form in the ANZ Premiership. Rore and Selby-Rickit both saying their omission from the team for the January Quad Series gave them the chance to concentrate solely on their own preparation over the off-season.

With Kopua the tallest of the defenders at 1.88m, this is a relatively short back-end. A number of countries boast shooters almost 10cm taller than that, and the Ferns are going to have to be smart.   But they have proven ball winners – particularly in the likes of Jane Watson and Karin Burger.

This is a 12 that’s hard to argue with.