2023 Netball World Cup review: New Zealand

REIGNING champions New Zealand ultimately went home from Cape Town without a medal, which will leave the Silver Ferns with a frustrated feeling. However, they did lose shooter Grace Nweke early, and were forced to reshuffle, still only losing to Jamaica and England.

The Silver Ferns survived a scare against South Africa where they drew, to do enough to make the semi-finals, but back-to-back tight losses to the Roses and then Sunshine Girls meant they slipped to fourth overall.


Group D: 1st (3-0, +120 goal difference)

defeated Trinidad & Tobago by 49 goals (76-27)
defeated Uganda by 10 goals (54-44)
defeated Singapore by 61 goals (80-19)

Group G: 2nd (3-1-1, +97 goal difference)

defeated Wales by 49 goals (83-34)
drew with South Africa (48-48)
lost to Jamaica by 11 goals (48-59)


lost to England by 6 goals (40-46)

Bronze Medal Match:

lost to Jamaica by 7 goals (45-52)


The most crushing win of the tournament considering the opposition was that of the victory over Wales. New Zealand piled on four quarters of 18-plus goals, while keeping Wales to single digits in three of the four quarters. Though the final term was a little tighter, the Silver Ferns never looked like losing in their crushing 83-34 victory.

Shooter Maia Wilson shot an incredible 49 goals at 100 per cent efficiency, while having four goal assists, one deflection and one game. Ameliaranne Ekenasio (15 goals from 16 attempts, seven goal assists) and Te Paea Selby-Rickit (15 goals from 17 attempts) were the other major shooters. Midcourter Kate Heffernan (20 goal assists, three gains and four deflections) and defender Jane Watson (six gains, five deflections and four intercepts) were also strong.


Earning midcourter of the tournament, Heffernan earns the nod as the standout player from the Silver Ferns. Boasting 77 feeds, 12 deflections and nine intercepts, Heffernan was a crucial member of the team, able to link in transition between attack and defence. Though there were plenty who stood up throughout the World Cup, Heffernan was the most consistent.


In attack, Wilson was the dominant shooter putting up 208 goals in a tournament to remember. Without Nweke, she led the attack with Selby-Rickit (106 goals) and Ekenasio (96) the other key scorers. The trio of Watson, Karin Burger and Phoenix Karaka was also rock solid. The trio were among the top three in all the key areas, while Kelly Jury put up 23 deflections. Along with Heffernan, Gina Crampton and Whitney Souness were also the main distributors into the shooting circle.


New Zealand will undoubtedly be disappointed to walk away from Cape Town without a medal, especially as reigning gold medalists. The only reigning champions not to medal at the next World Cup, the Silver Ferns will go back to the drawing board and look to mount an assault on the Constellation Cup later this year.

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