Netball: Mes a shock inclusion in Ferns squad

By Dana Johannsen

Bailey Mes played just one quarter for the Mystics this year. Photo / Dean Purcell
Bailey Mes played just one quarter for the Mystics this year. Photo / Dean Purcell

Unheralded midcourter Bailey Mes is the shock inclusion in the Silver Ferns test side to face Australia next month.

Mes, a converted shooter, played just one quarter for the Mystics in this year's transtasman league. But Ferns coach Waimarama Taumaunu was impressed with what she saw from Mes in the ANZ Championship preseason tournament, and invited her to last week's Silver Ferns trials alongside a handful of other young midcourters.

The 23-year-old made the most of her opportunity, playing exceptionally well all week to force the selectors' hands.

The elevation from wildcard invitee to fully fledged Silver Fern came as a huge surprise to Mes.

"I was only just getting over being named in the [wider] squad on Friday, when I got another call from Wai telling me I was in the team, it was pretty amazing," said Mes.

Despite her head-turning performances at trials, the inclusion of the inexperienced Mes was a bold call from Taumaunu, in what is her first team naming of her tenure.

"Bailey is the newcomer to the side and provides us with another option for the Silver Ferns midcourt, her performances at trials were outstanding and warranted the next step up," said Taumaunu.

Midcourter Camilla Lees and experienced shooter Jodi Brown also make a return to the new look Ferns line-up.

Brown's inclusion keeps Julianna Naoupu - widely regarded as New Zealand's in-form goal attack during the transtasman league - out of the test line-up. But Naoupu is expected to get her chance later in the year during the quad series involving Australia, England and South Africa.

Taumaunu said there were some tough selection decisions but the national selectors felt this group offered real mix of youth and experience.

"The trials environment enabled us to see all the players competing on a level playing field, it was a physically challenging few days and we were impressed with the performance of the group."

The Silver Ferns team will regroup again in a weeks' time where they will participate in the first of two training camps prior to the Constellation Cup series, beginning in Melbourne on September 16.

Silver Ferns team:
Irene van Dyk, Maria Tutaia, Cathrine Latu, Jodi Brown, Laura Langman, Camilla Lees, Bailey Mes, Kayla Cullen, Leana de Bruin, Katrina Grant, Anna Harrison, Casey Williams (captain).

Wider squad members:
Julianna Naoupu, Grace Rasmussen, Anna Thompson, Te Huinga Reo Selby-Rickit.

- NZ Herald

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