Netball: Seymour gets the black number returned

By Julie Ash

In 1999 it was Julie Seymour who presented Silver Ferns skipper Adine Wilson with her first black dress.

This week in Wellington Wilson returned the favour, handing Seymour back the dress she last wore in 2002.

"She is a very special woman," Wilson said.

"It is just amazing that she has had three kids and she looks and plays the way she does. She is an inspiration."

Seymour was called into the New Zealand side this week after defender Casey Williams was ruled out of the series against Australia with a knee injury.

Because the New Zealand side was carrying five defenders, Silver Ferns coach Ruth Aitken chose to recall 34-year-old Seymour, who was already with the Silver Ferns as a training partner.

She has represented New Zealand on 75 occasions and was captain of the team who won silver at the 2002 Commonwealth Games.

Seymour admitted to being a bit nervous coming back into the New Zealand side but after a few days in camp felt confident enough in her own ability to tackle the Australians.

"I've got belief in my own ability, I've done it before, I can do it again."

Her return has meant hastily developing a relationship with young goal attack Maria Tutaia.

"I have found so far she is a skilled and talented player and she makes it quite easy to deliver the ball to. Obviously you can only get better over time."

New Zealand possess a potent midcourt combination in Wilson and Temepara George but are still looking to boost their backup in those positions before next year's world championships.

Seymour provides a strong option at centre while Aitken said she was looking at both George and Laura Langman as back-up wing attacks.

Aitken said Langman, who usually plays at wing defence, "has a lot of potential there".

"The option of putting Julie [Seymour] at centre and Temepara at wing attack is one we want to know we can use if we need to," Aitken said. "The back-up in that wing attack option has been a bit light so it is nice to know we have another option if we need it."

Otago player Debbie White is now regarded more as specialist wing defence rather than centre.

"We just have to make sure that every position is covered," Aitken said.

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