The New Zealand netball team to compete at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games was announced today. It includes 5 Māori players and only three members of the side that placed second overall in Glasgow, four years ago.
Michaela Sokolich-Beatson is the new cap for the New Zealand team, the Ngāti Toa is also the youngest at 21 years-old. Ameliaranne Ekenasio is also one of the new players to the games squad, she last played for New Zealand in 2016 before taking time away from the game to start a family.
Te Paea Selby Rickit was also named, the Reo Māori speaker says her family have already started to make plans to watch her in Australia.
Netball New Zealand coach Janine Southby said they wanted to ensure that any changes to this year’s squad would give them their strongest combinations of both experience and youth.
Laura Langman was unavailable for selection due to taking a break away from the sport in 2018.
The team of 12 is:
Katrina Grant (captain),
Maria Folau (vice-captain),
Kayla Cullen (Ngāpuhi)
Ameliaranne Ekenasio (Tainui)
Grace Kara (Ngāpuhi)
Te Paea Selby-Rickit (Ngāti Raukawa)
Michaela Sokolich-Beatson (Ngāti Toa)
The naming takes the total number of athletes selected to the New Zealand Commonwealth Games team to 111, 13 of the athletes are Māori.