Netball New Zealand is pleased to announce the NZ U21 squad, which will form the basis of the team for Netball World Youth Cup Gaborone 2017 (NWYC2017), July 8-16.
The squad was selected at the end of an intense four-day camp in Auckland, where the best up-and-coming talent in New Zealand went head-to-head.
NZ U21 coach Kiri Wills said the standard of play and skills were impressive, making selections difficult.
“Prior to camp I was looking forward to the new faces coming in and pushing for a spot in the squad – and that’s exactly what they did,” Wills said.
“This was one of the hardest processes I’ve been through; the competition for places was tight and that’s a strong indication of the work being done by the Zones and Centres.
“We have selected a squad that is robust, resilient and diverse in the skill set they bring – it’s an exciting mix and we are looking forward to the next stage of our campaign as we prepare to defend the title in Gaborone.”
The NZ U21 team is the reigning world champion having defeated Australia, 52-47, in 2013.
The final squad will be reduced to a team of 12 prior to NWYC2017. They have been drawn in Pool A against Sri Lanka, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Samoa.
Name 2016 Team 2016 Zone
Aliyah Dunn* Southland U19 Netball South
Charlotte Elley Mainland Tactix Netball Mainland
Abby Erwood Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel Netball South
Monica Falkner Netball WBOP Beko team Netball WBOP
Holly Fowler SKYCITY Mystics Netball Northern
Jamie Hume Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel Netball South
Fa’amu Ioane SKYCITY Mystics Netball Northern
Kelly Jury** WBOP Magic Netball WBOP
Tiana Metuarau Central Beko team Netball Central
Theresa Ngata* Netball North Harbour U19 Netball Northern
Jennifer O’Connell Netball South Beko team Netball South
Kimiora Poi Central Beko team Netball Central
Ainsleyanna Puleiata* Wellington A U17 Netball Central
Mila Reuelu- Buchanan Netball Central Beko team Netball Central
Renee Savaiinaea Wellington A U17 Netball Central
Michaela Sokolich-Beatson SKYCITY Mystics Netball Northern
Maia Wilson** Central Pulse Netball Central
* Denotes athletes whose selection is subject to fitness.
** Denotes eligible for NZ U21 selection and currently in Silver Ferns squad.
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Promising teenaged prospects Kimiora Poi and Mila Reuelu-Buchanan have been selected as Central Pulse training partners ahead of the 2017 ANZ Premiership netball competition.
On the back of impressive seasons in the inaugural Beko League competition, the teens have excelled in their first year out of school and now get the opportunity to rub shoulders with some of netball’s top players, including Katrina Grant, Cathrine Tuivaiti, Phoenix Karaka and Sara Bayman.
``We ran a trial to select training partners and they were both very excited with this opportunity,’’ Pulse coach Yvette McCausland-Durie said.
``It’s really important for us to help our players realise that they can make it by staying in their home zone. They’ve both developed hugely over this year and I think they will make the most of this opportunity.’’
Training partners are an important component for the 10-strong teams on several fronts heading into next year’s competition.
The additional players allow for more game-specific training sessions while also providing an opportunity to train up players who are considered strong prospects of moving through to the top ranks in the foreseeable future.
``It’s giving them a taste of what the semi-professional environment is like, they get paid for that period which is the front half of the season up until the competition start,’’ McCausland-Durie said.
The career paths of the midcourt pair have tracked a similar course, both were members of last year’s New Zealand Secondary Schools team, part of the winning Wellington under-19 team this year and foundation members of the successful Central Beko team which finished runners-up.
Both will line up in this week’s New Zealand under-21 trials from which the team for next year’s World Youth Cup will be selected.
A product of Napier Girls’ High School, Poi, 19, is leading the way in a resurgence of Hawke’s Bay netballing talent with several other promising youngsters following in her footsteps. She shifted to Wellington this year to attend university while also progressing her netball career.
Reuelu-Buchanan, 18, spent her formative years playing in the Kapi Mana competition before plying her trade out of Wellington East Girls’ College. She is also in her first year at university.
``The Beko League provides a stepping stone and for all of us, gives clarity of how these young players compete at a more senior level. It wasn’t always easy but they had a good season, building and improving as the competition progressed,’’ McCausland-Durie said.
``They are very deserving, they trialled really strongly, both have a good conditioning base and a high skill level.’’
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Secondary School netball continues to produce star performers year in-year out in New Zealand. Below are some of the leading players that College Sport Media has profiled and seen play in 2016. Out of the group below, who would be your favourite player this year?
Courtney Elliott (Tai Wananga)
Like Sydney Fraser (below), Courtney has spent much of this year nursing an Achilles injury, but prior to that the specialist defender and former shooter captained the New Zealand team to their win at the International Secondary Schools Challenge tournament in May, in her second year in the squad. Courtney relished the captaincy and was named Defender of the Tournament. She was also selected in the WBOP side in the new Beko League. At the start of this month Courtney was named the BLK Secondary School Player of the Year at the Netball NZ Awards.
Sydney Fraser (Saint Kentigern College) - Sydney Fraser’s school team had a breakthrough NZSS Netball Championship tournament, beating four-time defending champions MAGS 35-34 in the final, but Sydney herself spent the tournament on the bench having recently had an operation on her Achilles. Injury also kept her in the classroom and off court for the NZSS team in May. But when fit there’s big wraps on the wing attack/goal attack and St Kent’s Head Girl. Sydney represented Northern in the Beko League competition, made the NZ 19 Netball Championships tournament team in July (along with school teammate Mererangi Paul) was selected for the NZ U21 team in August and in 2017 and is in the Waikato-Bay of Plenty squad for next year’s elite netball league.
Lily Marshall (St Margaret's College) - Flying the flag for the mainland, Lily Marshall recently deservedly won the School Sport Canterbury Girls All-rounder of the Year award for her deeds in both netball and rowing where she is also a standout. The versatile defender made the NZSS Netball Team that contested the International School Girls Netball Challenge in May. She was also selected in the Netball Mainland Beko team. In August, Lily helped St Margaret’s win their sixth straight Canterbury SuperNet title, beating Christchurch Girls’ High School 32-23 in the final. She made the tournament selection at the conclusion of the NZSS Championships in October and is an upcoming New Zealand U21 trialist.
Tiana Metuarau (Wellington East Girls' College) - Tiana Metuarau had a stellar year on court. At the start of May she was selected for the NZSS team for the second year in a row and was named Shooter of the Tournament at the International School Girls Netball Challenge. She was selected as part of the Netball Central BEKO development league team that finished runners-up in the inaugural tournament, was a member of the Wellington U17 side that won at Nationals and made the NZ U21 team in August. Tiana was named Shooter of the Tournament at the NZSS Netball Championships in October, despite her WEGC side finishing outside the major placings. The Year 11 student has recently been selected in the Central Pulse squad for 2017 and is a trialist for the New Zealand U21 team to contest the Junior World Championships next year.
Renee Savaiinaea (St Mary’s College) - The future is looking up with players like Renee Savaiinaea on court. As one of five Year 11 students that won the International Secondary Schools Challenge in May, Renee had a terrific tournament. She followed that up mid-year by winning the New Zealand U17 Netball title with Wellington A, beating Auckland 1 27-21 in the decider. At the start of October she was named Defender of the Tournament at the NZSS Netball Championships in Lower Hutt. Was St Mary’s College’s Netballer of the Year. Special mention to her St Mary’s teammate Ana Puleiata, also Year 11 and who was a NZSS and Wellington A teammate and the Mid Courter of the NZSS Tournament. Recognition here for Renee here is also for Ana. Together the pair play other sports, including rugby where they will be competing for St Mary’s at the upcoming Condor 7s.
Elle Temu (MAGS) - The Mount Albert Grammar School defender and captain went agonisingly close to leading her young team to what would have been a fifth straight NZSS tournament victory in Lower Hutt in October, pipped by St Kent's in the final. Individually, Elle was still one of the best players on court all week and was duly named in the tournament selection for the second successive year. Earlier in the year, Elle was MAGS’ sole selection in the NZSS team that played an international series against Australian and Maori school teams.
Age has continued to prove no barrier for schoolgirl Tiana Metuarau, who will line up for the Central Pulse in next year’s ANZ Premiership netball competition.
A player of exceptional promise, Metuarau, 15, has made a habit of defying her tender years with early entry into national secondary school and age-group teams and the Beko League in recent years. Passing those examinations with flying colours has earned the talented shooter a call-up to the elite level as the replacement for Ameliaranne Ekenasio, who has withdrawn due to pregnancy.
The youngest player in this year’s inaugural Beko League, Metuarau’s consistently impressive form was duly recognised with elevation to the New Zealand under-21 team and Silver Ferns Development Squad.
While she had designs on making the Pulse team in the next couple of years, Metuarau’s meteoric rise has left the unassuming Year 11 Wellington East Girls’ College student slightly overwhelmed.
``I’m really excited but very nervous as well,’’ she said. ``At this moment, my thoughts about going into the Pulse environment are to mix well with the team, learn as much as I can before the competition starts and give it a good go.’’
The immediate concern for the daughter of former Silver Ferns coach and captain, Wai Taumaunu, is gunning for a spot in the New Zealand under-21 World Youth Cup team at trials in a fortnight.
Pulse coach Yvette McCausland-Durie has no doubts about the teenager’s ability and character to take the leap into the semi-professional ranks in her stride.
``She has got a really bright future and I think what she’s achieved so far as a young player really does defy her age,’’ McCausland-Durie said.
``She plays her role fully across all parts of the game….the rebound, the shot, ability to be conditioned and work incredibly hard and in terms of an attacker is highly involved. I feel she’s really well rounded and despite her age actually does have an ability to compete, gets out on court and can put everything else aside to do that. She is a hugely exciting player.’’
As her coach in the Beko League, McCausland-Durie is well aware of Metuarau’s make-up and of any concerns that may surround her youthfulness.
``I’ve seen her in times of challenge, when it’s been really tough for her and watched her growth in that respect through the Beko League,’’ she said.
``That was massive exposure for her, it’s on television and there’s all sorts of expectations but she got better and better and coped with all of the players she came up against, a lot of them were senior players.
``Then to go on and compete for the New Zealand under-21s against Australia, and again show that ability and state of mind……..she’s a competitor, she knows that she wants to be a high performance athlete and she’s very focused on doing what it takes.’’
The sidelined Ekenasio is expected to play a strong mentoring role while former shooting great Irene van Dyk will also be on hand in a support role.
Netball New Zealand is pleased to announce the 29 athletes who have been selected to trial for the New Zealand U21 team.
The trials, to be held in Auckland from November 24-27, will pit the best young talent in the country head-to-head for the opportunity to be selected in the NZ U21 squad for Netball World Youth Cup GABORONE 2017 (NWYC2017), July 8-16 2017.
The NZ U21 team is the reigning world champions having defeated Australia at the last NWYC Glasgow 2013, 52-47.
The triallists include a mixture of players who have participated in National Domestic Events, the former trans-Tasman Netball League, Beko Netball League, Secondary Schools events, NZA, FAST5 Ferns and Silver Ferns.
The final squad will be reduced to a team of 12 prior to NWYC2017 who will head to Botswana to defend the title.
The NZ U21 team has been drawn in Pool A for NWYC2017 against Sri Lanka, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Samoa.
NZ U21 triallists:
Name2016 Team2016 Zone
Mila Reuelu- Buchanan
* Denotes athletes who are currently injured but are still eligible for selection in the squad. These athletes may be medically cleared to participate prior to trials.
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