Silver Ferns announce 2022-23 squads

FRESH off a Bronze Medal campaign at the 2022 Commonwealth Games, New Zealand has named its 2022-23 Silver Ferns Squad and Development Squad looking ahead to next year’s World Cup. The Silver Ferns have brought back a number of experienced players who missed out on Commonwealth Games representation, while a shooter from that Commonwealth Games side have dropped back to the Development Squad.

While the majority of the 12-player Commonwealth Games squad did get recalled into the main Silver Ferns outfit, shooter Bailey Mes was the unfortunate casualty in the wake of the returning star Ameliaranne Ekenasio. The Silver Ferns captain who took time off netball during her pregnancy but returned to the ANZ Premiership last season, will return to the squad and selectors have opted to pair her with Maia Wilson and Grace Nweke, with Te Paea Selby-Rickit the most capable of the Commonwealth Games trio who can also play goal attack like Ekenasio.

Joining Ekenasio as important inclusions for the Silver ferns include defenders Karin Burger and Jane Watson. Both are world class defenders on their day, and can strengthen that third of the court that was less experienced than the other thirds at the tournament. They have kept in the trio of Kayla Johnson, Kelly Jury and Phoenix Karaka, as well as reliable goal keeper Sulu Fitzpatrick, giving the Silver Ferns defence incredible depth in all three positions. Though less experienced than the rest, youngster Elle Temu was also named in the 17-player main squad.

Focussing on the midcourt, and the Commonwealth Games outfit had the four main midcourters rolling through there – with the defenders having filled the wing defence slot at times – in Gina Crampton, Whitney Souness, Shannon Saunders and Kate Heffernan returning once again. The midcourt is a tried and true group, with only a couple of additional call-ups in young gun Maddy Gordon – who returned from injury to impress during the ANZ Premiership season – and Mila Reuelu-Buchanan to beef up the squad and provide extra options.

There are a few midcourt options in the Silver Ferns’ Development Squad as well, with Kimiora Poi, Samantha Winders, Elisapeta Toeava and Claire Kersten all earning their spots in the squad. Covering all the bases through the midcourt, Tiana Metuarau is another goal attack option for coach Dame Noeline Taurua and will look to crack into the main squad, while Georgia Heffernan – who returned from an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury in 2022 and sister of Kate – is a shooter named with Mes.

Rounding out the Development squad are exciting defenders, Kate Burley and Kristiana Manu’a, the latter of whom returned to New Zealand after playing in the Suncorp Super Netball.

The Silver Ferns next international series is the Constellation Cup with the Diamonds in October, with two matches in New Zealand, and two in Australia.

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