Topic: Netball

New Māori faces join Silver Ferns

Phoenix Karaka and Kayla Cullen will be the new Māori faces in the World Netball Champs this year.  Skipper Casey Kopua says the new mix of young players is refreshing after their one goal loss four years ago.

Young and old mixing it up.  Kopua says, "It's a good refreshment for all of us ones that have been around for a while, taking it back to basics and really working our strengths for the new players as well.  Not just saying this is how we play and this is what you're gonna do, finding out what works for them at the same time."

The Silver Ferns are hard at work preparing for the World Cup and one Ngāpuhi descendant, who will make her World Cup debut, is ready to perform where ever she is put on the court.

Kayla Cullen says, "I played ANZ, I played GK, GD, WD and then at C so it's similar, just the same prep coming in here but obviously it's going to be another level up and the intensity is going to lift."

Another newcomer to the competiton and Tainui descendant had a taste of international success in 2012.

Phoenix Karaka says, "We were just so proud representing our country and the previous 21s had lost and trying to redeem ourselves and I guess prove to everyone we can beat the top team."

The Silver Ferns fell short by one point in Singapore in 2011 and are hoping to go one better. 

"Obviously it's going to be another level up and just got to be ready for that," says Cullen.

Karaka adds, "The hard work that we put into training this week is gonna pay off."

On August 7, the team plays their first game of the competition against Barbados.

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