Netball: Mystics get approval to sign Davu

By Dana Johannsen

The Northern Mystics have finally been given approval to sign former Silver Fern and Fijian international Vilimaina Davu for the transtasman championship.

With just over two weeks to prepare for the start of the season,

Mystics coach Yvonne Willering was confident Davu would get up to speed.

"The good thing about it is Vili is a strong goal-keep and I've worked with her a lot in the past so I don't think it'll take long to bring her into the team," she said.

"She knows what it takes for this level of competition and she's certainly working towards that. She's not at her peak yet and she's not match fit, but you've got to appreciate what she lacks in fitness she makes up for with passion and sheer enthusiasm."

Willering said she was disappointed it had taken this long to finalise her full squad of 12 players.

"I think at the end of the season we'll be sitting down and having some sort of discussion in regards to the eligibility rulings. It is the first year and I'm sure there will be quite a few learning from this."

The Mystics initial application to sign Davu as a second import was declined, as the national body ruled the formidable defender was not up the standard required in the league and the Auckland franchise would be better served using local talent.

Netball NZ chief executive Raelene Castle said their decision in January was based on the most recent assessment of Davu's performance at the November World Championships, where she was a player-coach for Fiji.

The Mystics were in the process of appealing the decision, with their case set to go before an independent appeals panel. But last week that appeals process was suspended and the Mystics re-submitted their application providing evidence of how far Davu has come with her training programme over the last four months.

Davu moved back to Auckland late last year after signing a deal with a weight loss company, and has been maintaining her own exercise regime as well taking part in individual training sessions with Willering.

The Mystics first game is against the Canterbury Tactix on April 6.

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