Daniel Richardson

Daniel Richardson is a Wellington-based sports journalist for NZME. News Service.

Netball: Lees hoping to wear black this year

Camilla Lees knows her best chance of wearing a Silver Ferns bib this season hinges on her form at wing attack for the Central Pulse. Photo / Ross Setford.
Camilla Lees knows her best chance of wearing a Silver Ferns bib this season hinges on her form at wing attack for the Central Pulse. Photo / Ross Setford.

Camilla Lees knows her best chance of wearing a Silver Ferns bib this season hinges on her form at wing attack for the Central Pulse.

With Laura Langman holding a long-term mortgage on the centre bib for the national side and the international departures of Temepara George and Liana Leota, the Silver Ferns' mid-court is looking decidedly thin at the wing attack spot.

That position just happens to be where Lees has spent the past three games for the Pulse as they ride the crest of a franchise-best three-game winning streak.

After beginning the year as the Pulse's starting centre, Lees voiced her desire to move up a spot on court and after coach Robyn Broughton lost patience with her other combinations she shook up her mid-court and moved wing defence Joline Henry to the C bib and Lees to wing attack.

Cue three victories for the Pulse and some sharp play from Lees, who would love to add to her three test caps this year, where she would be a handy investment at wing attack for coach Silver Ferns coach Waimarama Taumaunu.

"I think obviously that's where the opportunity is at the moment," Lees said.

"But I think in the long term it's better to have as many positions as you can and so I would love to be able to still play centre and wing attack and I think that that means I should have more opportunities in the future. But I think Laurs (EDS:CRRCT) has definitely got herself in that position for the long term pretty nicely."

Lees hasn't had a full debrief from Taumaunu about her performances this year, but said they did keep in touch.

"More just general comments from her. We haven't had any proper sit downs or anything but just to kind of reiterate all the main aims for me this season, which was just to make sure that my feeding accuracy is good and trying to develop my wing attack game, which I'm really pleased with. So, nothing specific but just general comments and I think she's happy with how everyone's going and obviously proud of the whole Pulse team."

Lees, who joined the Pulse in 2009, will play her 50th game in the transtasman league this weekend when the Wellington-based side meet the Waikato/Bay of Plenty Magic in Tauranga on Sunday.

The 23-year-old said her own form this year was down to a mixture of factors but adding a bit of muscle to her frame may have helped her cause.

"Obviously all the gym work and all the strength work has been a huge improvement for me over the last couple of seasons, in particular. I used to be a bit of a scrawny thing on court. I feel like I've beefed up a little bit now," she said.

The ANZ Championship wraps up late next month and the Silver Ferns don't play until they meet Australia in a three-test series in September.

- APNZ

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