Gordon in, Toeava misses out on World Cup squad

June 8, 2023 6:16 am

[Source: 1News]

Silver Ferns coach Dame Noeline Taurua has named her 12-strong squad for South Africa next month.

With half the squad making their World Cup debuts – but none of the six being Peta Toeava.

Taurua and Netball New Zealand selectors announced the team this afternoon while naming three travelling reserves for the tournament as well who could be brought in as injury cover throughout the event which spans from July 28 to August 6.

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Ameliaranne Ekenasio has been named captain of the side with shooter Te Paea Selby-Rickit, midcourter Gina Crampton and the defensive trio of Jane Watson, Karin Burger, and Phoenix Karaka all returning as well to defend the title they won in 2019.

Joining them are World Cup debutants Grace Nweke, Maia Wilson, Whitney Souness, Maddy Gordon, Kate Heffernan and Kelly Jury.

The travelling reserves – a first for the tournament – are Tiana Metuarau, Mila Reuelu-Buchanan, and Sulu Fitzpatrick.

Taurua said with just 51 days until the World Cup launches, she’s pleased to finally have her team finalised after a competitive ANZ Premiership.

“I think the ANZ Premiership has truly delivered this season and enabled myself and the selectors to see our athletes at their best and in all sorts of pressure-filled situations,” she said.

“It has been one of the closest competitions we’ve ever had, and of a high standard with some extremely tight results, which has provided a strong environment before we step onto netball’s biggest stage.

“I would like to thank all ANZ Premiership teams for the work they have done to help prepare the athletes and provide a fierce competition.”

One name missing from the list is Mystics wing attack Toeava whose form this season helped her side to an ANZ Premiership title after her impressive international debut in the black dress last year against Australia.

Toeava was the Mystics’ No.1 target in centre passes and their top feeder, finishing third overall in the competition with 600 feeds behind Crampton [736] and Reuelu-Buchanan [708].

Commentators saw Toeava as an option for this year’s World Cup given her play and on-court connection with first-choice shooter Nweke [who many of those feeds went to], however Taurua has opted to go with Crampton, Souness, Heffernan and Gordon as her first-choice midcourters with Reuelu-Buchanan providing reserve cover.

Taurua said particularly on the selections of Souness, Gordon and Heffernan that the trio “can all cover various roles” as can the defensive quartet.

“I’m excited with this group of athletes we have selected. We have stability with experience and players who have specific specialist skillsets. We have versatility with slide options,” she said.

“We have worked our depth over the past two years and provided on court opportunities. Youthful exuberance adds that exciting flavour. We go into these selections with our eyes wide open and with purpose.”

The Silver Ferns face Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, and Singapore in the group stages of the 2023 Netball World Cup before heading for the knockouts.

Shooters: Grace Nweke, Ameliaranne Ekenasio (c), Maia Wilson, Te Paea Selby-Rickit

Midcourt: Gina Crampton, Kate Heffernan, Maddy Gordon, Whitney Souness

Defenders: Karin Burger, Jane Watson, Kelly Jury, Phoenix Karaka

Travelling reserves: Tiana Metuarau, Mila Reuelu-Buchanan, Sulu Fitzpatrick