All but two of the 2004 Olympic Tall Ferns team will reunite and step on court this Friday for one practice session, before their first World Masters Games match on Saturday.

The team has come together thanks to the teams Manager, Kim Lucas, who has a long history managing the Tall Ferns over almost 14 years: 1992 to 2000, then again from 2001 to 2006.

Only two players are unavailable for the 2017 reunion - Angela Marino (No.6) who is too young for this tournament and Julie Ofsoski (No.13) who is recovering from surgery. Lucas says the remaining players jumped at the chance to play together again.

"A few of the girls still play and coach including Leanne Walker, Jody Cameron and Sally Farmer. They were messaging one another saying, Wouldn't it be a great idea if we did this? Then one day I was on score bench duties when Jody's team was playing against Leanne's team. After the game they said to me, Come on, if anyone's going to make this happen its you, so get everybody together. So I started emailing the whole team, I still had all their details in my archives. The response was brilliant.

"Two are coming from Australia and the rest are all coming from around New Zealand. They've all got jobs, such as in the police force or as school teachers and other professions, so they havent been in the same place together for a long time, that is until this Friday when we have our first training," said Lucas.

During the time apart, most of the team have stepped away from competitive basketball. Lucas is not promising that the team will match their former Olympic standard when they made the quarter-finals in Athens.

"Itll be tough because the majority of the team are now in their forties, but we're playing in the 35 plus grade! Donna Loffhagen (now Donna Wilkins) and Aneka Kerr are not yet 40, so thanks to them we have to play in the age group of our youngest player. We are really an over 40s team though.

"Some of the girls still play, some of them don't, some are injured due to years of being beaten up playing international sport - they can go on for a couple of minutes, but they can't play like they used to," quips Lucas.

As Manager, Lucas first joined the Tall Ferns during the 1992 FIBA Oceania Tournament in Auckland and stayed with the team until after the 2000 Olympics in Sydney.

"After that I retired and thought I'd done enough. It was eight years of pretty hard work. There was no money and a lot of the time we had to pay our own way, so it wasn't glamorous at all. People think it sounds very glamorous, but there were a lot of really cheap hotel rooms and cooking food for yourself, and goodness knows what else. Then suddenly the funding body at the time became interested in funding our programme in order to get us ready for the 2000 Olympics, so it ramped up in the last couple of years.

"I retired after 2000, because those major events are really tough on everybody. Not just the athletes, because they have to perform when they're under enormous pressure, but all the management as well. The team has a history of a lot of hard work, a lot of sacrifice and many hours of dedication. They just work their butts off."

After retiring for the first time, Lucas only had two years off before she was asked to return by the Tall Ferns Captain in 2001, Rebecca Cotton.

"She begged me to come back and get them ready for the 2004 Athens Olympics, so I started again in 2001. I worked through to 2006, which was fabulous. 2004s result in Athens was a highlight of the whole campaign. We then had a few of the players stay on through to the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne where we won a silver medal. By then a new wave of players were coming through, it seemed right for some of us to step aside and let the new blood take over, so I resigned again."

Of course the World Masters Games means Kim Lucas has come out of retirement once more, but hopefully this time it wont be too stressful.

"They'll be a handful even though I'm not planning on being too involved. I'm mainly going so I can watch them play and have a laugh. But I could just about tell you which ones wont have their gear there and which ones will still be asking me how to get to the bus home! It's like when you go home to your mum and she always cooks a dinner, it's the same thing," jokes Lucas.

"It's going to be fun, that's the main point. It's not about beating the opposition. It's about the reunion."

The team, playing under the name The Ferns will have their first game on Saturday 22 April at the North Shore Events Centre, 6:20pm on Court 2.

Ferns team roster:

- No 4 Leanne Walker

- No 5 Rebecca Cotton

- No 7 Kim Crocker

- No 8 Megan Compain

- No 9 Donna Wilkins

- No 10 Gina Farmer

- No 11 Tania Tupu

- No 12 Sally Farmer

- No 14 Jody Cameron

- No 15 Aneka Kerr

- This story has been automatically published using a media release from Basketball New Zealand