Dame Noeline Taurua names new Silver Ferns squads

By Jessica Tyson

Silver Ferns coach Dame Noeline Taurua and the national selectors have named a 16-strong Silver Ferns squad and a Silver Ferns development squad of 10 who will work together closely over the next year.

Kimiora Poi,  of Ngāti Porou; Te Paea Selby-Rickit, of Ngāti Raukawa and Ngāti Porou; and Maia Wilson, of Te Rarawa, Te Waiohua are just some of the Māori players selected for the Silver Ferns squad.

Missing from last year’s victorious Netball World Cup squad are three of New Zealand’s greats including Laura Langman, Maria Folau and Casey Kopua who have all retired from the international game, and Phoenix Karaka who has just announced her pregnancy.

Rising midcourter Maddy Gordon is the only debutante and has been elevated into the Silver Ferns Squad after a stand-out ANZ Premiership season.

Gordon, 20, has been a regular starter for Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse and having moved into the wing attack role this season, has taken her game to new levels showcasing her athleticism, vision and ball skills.

Ameliaranne Ekenasio will continue as captain with support from vice-captains Gina Crampton and Jane Watson.

Building depth

Taurua said she had been excited about the talent she had seen in this year’s ANZ Premiership and was looking forward to building depth across the board.

“This has been one of the toughest seasons for the athletes in what has been a disrupted ANZ Premiership but I have been impressed with how the teams have risen to the challenge and what they have produced on the court,” she says.

She says now is the time to continue developing the athletes at the highest level and build on their game.

“We have the core of our Netball World Cup-winning squad, which brings that experience to the side, while the likes of Claire Kersten, Sulu Fitzpatrick and Kelly Jury have experience at that level and bring a fresh dynamic to the squad.”

Taurua said she would be working closely with the Silver Ferns development squad, which included both experience and New Zealand’s next generation of netballers.

“The calibre of this squad I think really shows how well the future of our game is placed, which is why we want these athletes to work closely with the Silver Ferns squad to help build our depth at the elite level.”

Both squads will begin training camps in October.

2020/21 Silver Ferns Squad:

Karin Burger, Gina Crampton, Ameliaranne Ekenasio, Sulu Fitzpatrick, Maddy Gordon, Kelly Jury, Claire Kersten, Bailey Mes, 
Kimiora Poi, Katrina Rore, Shannon Saunders, Te Paea Selby-Rickit, Michaela Sokolich-Beatson, 
Whitney Souness, Jane Watson, Maia Wilson.

2020/21 Silver Ferns Development Squad:

Ellie Bird, Aliyah Dunn, Tayla Earle, Temalisi Fakahokotau, Monica Falkner, Kate Heffernan, Jamie Hume, Erena Mikaere, Grace Nweke, Samantha Winders.