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Silver Ferns captain Ameliaranne Ekenasio announces pregnancy

Netball World Cup winning coach Dame Noeline Taurua and Netball New Zealand have extended their best wishes to Silver Ferns captain Ameliaranne Ekenasio who has announced her pregnancy.

Taurua, who stood on top of the Netball World Cup dais alongside Ekenasio in 2019, said she was thrilled to hear the news that the Silver Ferns whānau was growing.

The ability for our elite female athletes to be mothers whilst still performing at the highest level is no mean feat,” she said.

Massive congratulations to Ameliaranne, Damien and the whānau. I hope they enjoy this moment as we all look forward to meeting the newest member of our Silver Ferns family.”

The Australian-born shooter, who has Ngāpuhi heritage, made her debut in the black dress in 2014 against the Australian Diamonds.

She took time out from the game as she and her husband welcomed their first child, Ocean, in June of 2017 but returned just months later to help the FAST5 Ferns to a world series title in Melbourne and was named in the Silver Ferns side for the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Ekenasio took her game to new heights a year later when she became an integral cog in the Silver Ferns shooting circle with a stand-out performance at the successful 2019 Netball World Netball Cup in Liverpool.

In January 2020 Ekenasio was selected by her peers to take over as Silver Ferns captain, a position she has held since, recently leading the Silver Ferns to their first Constellation Cup series win since 2012.

Taurua said it had been a pleasure to watch Ekenasio grow both as an athlete and captain since taking on the leadership role in 2020.

“I think we’ve all watched with a sense of pride with just how far she has come with her game on court and growing confidence as a Silver Fern.

“Now her focus will be on her young family and enjoying those special new moments, and we certainly wish her well.”

Ekenasio, who was named the Silver Ferns Player of the Year in 2019, is well known for her high work rate and smooth long-range shooting and helped lead Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse to their second straight ANZ Premiership title in 2020.

She will be unavailable for the international netball series to be played later this year but will continue to work with Taurua and the Silver Ferns management team.