2023 Netball World Cup preview: New Zealand

THE 2023 Netball World Cup is almost here, and to help count down to the tournament, Rookie Me Central will be previewing all the competing teams and seeing how they might fair at the tournament.

Today’s preview is all about the reigning World Champions, New Zealand.


THE Silver Ferns are looking to win back to back titles with the Australian Diamonds and Jamaican Sunshine Girls nipping at their heels as the two biggest competitors.

The Silver Ferns are the reigning World Cup gold medallists after their performance in 2019. Their only loss was to Australia in the rounds by one-goal where they were able to flip the result in the final with their historical finish. That was their sixth title with their last being in 2003 in Kingston.


It was a somewhat successful Quad Series in January, they only fell short of the Diamonds by six-goals in the final and two-goals in the regular stages. They did come out victorious in the first two tests of the Constellation Cup last year and ended the Commonwealth Games as bronze medallists after having their best game in the final. They could not seem to settle and gel amongst one another but finally found themselves in that bronze medal match over England.


Ameliaranne Ekenasio had a breakthrough year in 2019 at the World Cup earning herself the starting goal attack position. Her boost in confidence really set the standards high for New Zealand and she is looking to have that again after missing out on the 12-player squad for the Commonwealth Games last year.

Maddy Gordon really has a point to prove in this tournament, showing people that she deserves to be in the black dress after some fans were surprised of her naming after the omission of specialist wing attack Elisapeta Toeava. Gordon’s last few domestic seasons is a strong indicator of how strong she is in all three midcourt positions with her being the starting wing attack in 2020, starting wing defence in 2021 and 2022, and starting centre in 2023. She is a very speedy attacking centre but is also prepared to put her body on the line in defence and is able to win ball back anywhere on the court.

The only player to have played in three world cups for the Silver Ferns is versatile Phoenix Karaka. She was in the runners up side in 2015 in Sydney and the successful gold medal team in 2019 in Liverpool. Her ability to play all three defensive positions is a big advantage for the Ferns with Karaka able to play anywhere that might need a change while being spoiled with combinations in the round stages working out what is the best for their most likely finals run. Also, her experience in these tournaments give her the upper hand with already having knowledge of how mentally tough you have to be with several other teammates not used to that tight two week schedule.

The Silver Ferns feature six World Cup debutants with four changes from their comeback Commonwealth Games story.

NEW ZEALAND FIXTURE (start times local)

Friday 28th July – 9am – Trinidad and Tobago

Saturday 29th July – 9am – Uganda

Sunday 30th July – 11am – Singapore


Karin Burger, Gina Crampton, Ameliaranne Ekenasio, Maddy Gordon, Kate Heffernan, Kelly Jury, Phoenix Karaka, Grace Nweke, Te Paea Selby-Rickit, Whitney Souness, Jane Watson, Maia Wilson

Reserves: Sulu Fitzpatrick, Tiana Metuarau and Mila Reuelu-Buchanan

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