Former Silver Ferns skipper Casey Kopua has ruled out an international comeback, pouring cold water on the excitement over her early ANZ Premiership form.
The star defender today announced her retirement from international netball, bringing the curtain down a test career that spanned 10 years and 101 tests. It comes as Kopua was beginning to generate some buzz after an impressive start to the new domestic league for the Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic after taking a year off for the birth of her first child.
As the inevitable speculation over Kopua's Silver Ferns future intensified following her return to the court, the veteran defender thought it was best to make a call on it early.
Kopua said with a young daughter, she didn't feel she would be able to commit to the Silver Ferns programme in what is shaping up to be a busy year.
"It was about my family in the end," she said.
"International netball is next level. It is next level intensity, next level commitment and more time away from home and all of that and I just felt I couldn't commit to that."
Kopua's final game for the Silver Ferns - a shock 11-goal demolition of Australia in the 2015 Constellation Cup decider in Perth - was a memorable one. Weeks later she revealed she was pregnant.
The 31-year-old, who gave birth to her daughter Maia in May last year, held off making any decisions over her playing future until she had time to settle into motherhood.
"Once I had Maia that puts your whole life into perspective of what's important and what you want to do, so it definitely made us think about it and I feel it is the right decision for our family."
Identified as a rare talent early on in her career, Kopua (then Williams) became the 135th player to represent the Silver Ferns when she made her debut in 2005 at the age of 20 against Barbados, after winning gold with the NZU21 team earlier that year. She took over the Silver Ferns captaincy four years later in 2009.
Widely considered one of the greatest defenders this country has produced, Kopua leaves the international arena as the Silver Ferns most capped captain (77 tests).
But for all the accolades she received in her career, there is a sense that Kopua could have achieved more milestones had she not been hampered by chronic knee and ankle injuries over her decade-long stint in the black dress.
The cruellest blow came in late 2014, when the athletic star tore her patella tendon in her left knee. It was thought the injury would almost certainly rule Kopua out of the 2015 World Cup in Sydney, but the veteran defender showed incredible courage and determination to get back on court in time for the tournament.
Despite the setbacks she endured, Kopua said she only looks back on her time with the Silver Ferns fondly.
"It has been an honour and a privilege to wear the Black Dress. The memories and friends I have made I will always treasure," she said.
While Kopua has closed to the door on her international career, it has not dented her competitiveness. She said she is loving being back in the Magic set-up and is thrilled with her young side's early progress in the ANZ Premiership.
"It's really cool to be back on court and back as part of a team and have that competitive aspect again which is what I really love."
The Magic are setting the pace early in the competition after two big wins in the opening round.