MYSTICS PAIR NAMED IN FERNS SQUAD TO TAKE ON AUSTRALIA
24 February 2021
Northern Mystics captain Sulu Fitzpatrick and star shooter Bailey Mes have been named in the Silver Ferns squad for a four-match Constellation Cup against the Australian Diamonds starting on Tuesday.
Mes, who is looking to add to her 70 Test caps, returns to the shooting circle after a lengthy injury layoff which saw the world champion undergo knee surgery following the Netball Nations Cup in London last year.
Fitzpatrick, who just last week was named Mystics captain, returned to the Silver Ferns in 2018 after making her international debut as a 19-year-old in 2011.
The Silver Ferns squad of 14 includes midcourter Maddy Gordon who could make her international debut during the 2021 Cadbury Netball Series which includes back to back Tests in Christchurch and Tauranga from 2-7 March.
Head coach Dame Noeline Taurua said the timing and nature of the series, as both teams build towards the Commonwealth Games in 2022 and Netball World Cup in 2023, meant she wanted to take a bigger squad from which she would pick a team of 12 before each match.
Taurua has opted for a heavy midcourt presence and is excited about what she has seen in the build-up to the Constellation Cup.
“Silver Ferns and New Zealand netball is laden with amazing midcourt players at the moment. They all have a point of difference and they all are impressively fit and hard workers. There will be a time when somebody would have to be dropped because of numbers. That time is not now, as we continue to build depth in 2022 and provide opportunities to the extended squad,” she said.
Gordon, who made the Silver Ferns squad late last year after a sensational ANZ Premiership, is the only player in the side yet to make her Ferns debut.
The series marks the first time in over a year since the world no. 1 Australian Diamonds played an international which Taurua said added to the excitement of the traditional trans-Tasman rivalry.
“I know the Diamonds will be excited to get back out on court after such a long break from playing international netball. We are equally excited to play all four Tests against the world number one netball team on our home soil in front of our home crowd.
“It’s series like these, against our long-time rivals, which really showcases the best netball ever.”
The first two Tests will be played at the Christchurch Arena on 2 and 3 March while the Trustpower Baypark Arena in Tauranga hosts two matches on 6 and 7 March.
Limited tickets are still available through www.ticketek.co.nz
Silver Ferns – Constellation Cup