Dana Johannsen is the NZ Herald's chief sports reporter

Netball: South Africans expected to feature in Australia and New Zealand leagues

South Africa head coach Norma Plummer expects some South African players to be in demand in the Australia and New Zealand domestic leagues. Photo / Photosport
South Africa head coach Norma Plummer expects some South African players to be in demand in the Australia and New Zealand domestic leagues. Photo / Photosport

Norma Plummer expects some of the young stars of the South African team will soon be in demand in the Australian and New Zealand domestic leagues.

Plummer's side last night produced one of their most competitive outings against the Silver Ferns in more than 15 years, challenging the New Zealand side for long stretches of the match.

The Ferns pulled away over the second half to grind out a convincing 65-46 win over the Proteas in their second Quad Series match.

Plummer believes the second half drop-off from her side was a predictable by-product of the players' lack of experience at top level.

"We're trying to learn to handle the pressure and the intensity, if they were playing in the ANZ Championship every week it would be a different story," the former Australian coach said.

Asked if she expected some of her players may be picked up by Australian or New Zealand franchises after some promising showings, Plummer responded:

"We're getting some calls."

"I'm hopeful that a few of them will be picked up, it would be the greatest thing for them."

Shooter Lenize Potgieter looms as the obvious candidate likely attracting interest from clubs Downunder. Potgieter was one of the standouts for the Proteas in their last visit to New Zealand prior to the 2015 World Cup, and backed up with another impressive showing last night, showing a strong range of movement for a 1.89m shooter and netting 33 of her 38 attempts.

Other players that have impressed are defenders Karla Mostert and Pumza Maweni, and veteran midcourter Erin Burger.

Plummer said South African netball officials were initially a little concerned about the approaches to their players, fearing they may be lost to other nations as was the case with Irene van Dyk and Leana de Bruin in the early 2000s.

"I've talked the establishment into understanding that it won't be an Irene van Dyk situation where they stay there and end up playing for the country, because you can't these days. You can't play for one country and then play for another the next year."

"It's not in their interest to do that anyway, and they want to play for South Africa."

The Australian clubs are yet to make any roster announcements for their new domestic league as officials are still working to iron out the players collective agreement. But with netball bosses across the Tasman controversially opting for unlimited imports in the new competition, the bulk of the international playing talent is expected to be signed in Australia.

Malawi shooter Mwai Kumwenda has already signaled her intention to take up a contract in Australia, announcing yesterday she will not be returning to the Mainland Tactix next season, while the likes of England's Jo Harten (previously Magic) and Serena Guthrie (Mystics) are also expected to take up contracts in Australia.

The Mystics announced today English midcourter Sasha Corbin has been signed for the 2017 season, filling the one import spot.

- NZ Herald

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