Topic: Netball

ANZ pre-season chance to blood young players

By Ruth Smith
  • Auckland

With the Silver Ferns standing down for the next two weeks, it's the perfect opportunity for some of netball's rising stars to suit up in this weekend's pre-season tournament.

"It's good to see where we're at and see where the other teams are at as well," says Northern Mystics defender, Grace Kukutai.

Northern Stars defender Holly Fowler adds, "It's a good opportunity for us to step up and show the coaches that we can play good netball".

It hasn't been an easy road for Fowler, who missed the ANZ League last year due to an ACL injury. 

However, she's returned and she's rearing to go.

"It's been really challenging.  Very intense in rehab five times a week, trying to get my knee back to normal.  So just really glad that I'm here and it's over,” she shared.

Many of the athletes who will be participating in this weekend’s tournament have come through the netball ranks together so even though on-court rivalries are tested, off-court friendships remain strong.

 "I feel like we go a bit harder.  I think you just leave your friendship off court and then on court we just go hard,” says Kukutai.

And in true competitive fashion, it's clear that these girls have got their eyes on the prize and are aiming for a successful season.

"[The Mystics] did really well last year, so we're hoping to improve on that and take out the ANZ Premiership this year," says Kukutai. 

When asked if her team has the goods to take the competition, Fowler answers with a cool confidence. 

"I think so.  We're doing pretty well in training.  So it's an exciting year ahead."

The ANZ Premiership pre-season tournament begins tomorrow.