Silver Ferns face exciting challenge at Cadbury Netball Series
The Silver Ferns will face a challenging Vitality Netball World Cup build-up with the Cadbury Netball Series offering up three opponents eager to stamp their mark.
Noeline Taurua’s Cup team faces off against an All Stars team, the Fiji Pearls and a New Zealand Men’s Invitational side at the Pulman Arena in Papakura from June 26-29.
It will be the last public appearance for the Silver Ferns before heading to Liverpool for Netball’s pinnacle event in July.
And their three opponents each bring something different to the court in what will be an intriguing match-up against New Zealand’s best.
Height is a growing factor in the international game and the Men’s team, who are often training partners for the Ferns, will use their skills and stature to showcase the men’s game.
The invitational side brings six players over 1.9m to the four-day series including towering Auckland-born shooter Junior Levi who stands at 2.18m alongside fellow goal scorer Daniel Jeffries at 2m.
All games from the series will be televised live on SKY Sport.
Meanwhile, there will be plenty of pride on the line for the All Stars team which includes a number of leading New Zealand players who missed out on a World Cup berth.
Four ANZ Premiership-winning members from Te Wānanga o Raukawa Central Pulse, including sharpshooter Aliyah Dunn, are part of the All Stars side along with Grand Finalists Maia Wilson and Kayla Cullen from the Northern Stars.
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There will also be plenty of interest in the return to court of dynamic defender Temalisi Fakahokotau who has been recovering from an ACL knee injury suffered last year.
The Fiji Pearls bring the unknown factor to the Cadbury Netball Series and have been in Brisbane for a three-week training camp as part of their build-up.
Australian great Vicki Wilson continues to guide the Pacific Island nation having been in the coaching box since 2016 and has recalled a number of experienced heads for their Netball World Cup campaign.
Captain Matila Waqawai, who is Fiji’s most capped netballer, will take part in her fourth World Cup where she is likely to mark 100 caps for her country.
The veteran defender joins UK-based athletes Alisi Nawele and Adi Vakaoca Bolakoro who are both part of the Vitality Superleague in England as well as Unu Rauluni and Episake Kahatoka who were both part of the 2015 World Cup.
Wilson has also included six members of the team which finish fourth at the 2017 Netball World Youth Cup in Botswana.