Silver Ferns select new shooter to face Australia

By Taroi Black
Waikato BOP Magic goal shooter Monica Falkner. Source / Getty Images

The Silver Ferns will take on their arch-rival the Australia Diamonds in the Constellation Cup, with no public watching.

Te Waimana Kaaku netballer Monica Falkner, 24, has been selected for tonight’s opening test match in Christchurch.

Standing at 1.81cm, Falkner will be the shortest shooter of four who have been selected for the squad.

While Falkner made her debut performance against the England Roses in the 2020 Taini Jamison Trophy in Hamilton, tonight will be her first appearance against the number one world-ranking team.

The Silver Ferns line-up includes a squad of 12 led by captain Ameliaranne Ekenasio (Tainui) from a pool of 14 based on the national selection process in the Cadbury Netball Series.

Head coach Dame Noeline Taurua is leaving no stone unturned this week in the four test matches against Australia.

It is expected Taurua will rotate players to build toward the Commonwealth Games in 2022, and Netball World Cup in 2023.

Last month Taurua explained, “There will be a time when somebody would have to be dropped because of numbers.”

“They all have a point of difference and they all are impressively fit and hard workers,” Taurua says.

Maia Wilson who hails from Te Rarawa and the youngest captain in the domestic league, will also feature in the shooting line-up. And veteran shooter Bailey Mes with 70 international caps makes her huge comeback after overcoming a stubborn knee injury that took her out for a whole year.   

The first test will also include the only three defenders named in the squad Jane Watson, Sulu Fitzpatrick and Karin Burger.

However, the biggest focus in front of the Ferns selections is having seven mid-courters trial this week, the most of any Silver Ferns team.

So far, Taurua has selected Gina Crampton, Claire Kerston, Shannon Saunders, Whitney Souness and Samantha Winders.

Meanwhile, Kimiora Poi (Ngati Kahungunu) and Maddy Gordon have not been selected for tonight's match.

The starting line-up will be announced one hour before the match at 7:30pm.

The full Silver Ferns 2021 team includes Ameliaranne Ekenasio, Monica Falkner, Bailey Mes, Maia Wilson, Gina Crampton, Claire Kersten, Shannon Saunders, Whitney Souness, Samantha Winders, Karin Burger, Sulu Fitzpatrick, Jane Watson.