Netball: Mum's the word in Silver Ferns

By Julie Ash

By JULIE ASH

Mothers have made a comeback to the Silver Ferns, led by new captain Julie Seymour, who today became just the second mother to lead the national side in 35 years.

Seymour's selection as captain was one of few changes in the Silver Ferns side named to tour Jamaica this month.

Former Silver Fern defenders Belinda Charteris, Lorna Suafoa and Anna Veronese replace Bernice Mene (retired) and Linda Vagana and Vilimaina Davu (both unavailable).

The only new cap in the side is 24-year-old goal attack/goal shoot Angela Evans.

Seymour took a short break from international netball last year to give birth to her son Harrison. She returned to the national side for last October's series against Australia.

The Christchurch 30-year-old is one of five mothers in the side. The others are Temepara Clark, Irene van Dyk, and Suafoa and Charteris, whose own mother, Judy Blair, led the Silver Ferns in 1967 and was the last mother at the helm.

Seymour, who has played 64 games for New Zealand, said she was "pleasantly surprised" to have been given the top job.

"I like to think I lead by example. I have a high work ethic on and off the court and I have that real passion for the game."

Seymour has captained Canterbury, the New Zealand under-21 side and co-captained the Canterbury Flames.

New Silver Ferns coach Ruth Aitken said Seymour was an excellent communicator who would bring out the best in the team.

"I think we have got some outstanding leaders in the group. While Julie will be a superb leader, I don't expect her to do everything on her own and the whole team have to rise to it."

Once again, there was no place for former Silver Fern midcourt player Anna Rowberry.

Aitken, who will also oversee the New Zealand A side named yesterday to play Australian state teams in Newcastle this month, said players such as Rowberry had a chance to impress on that tour.

"We have such a feast of talent in the midcourt," said Aitken.

"I firmly believe that Anna Rowberry and Amigene Metcalfe are hugely skilled midcourters and that the competition they are going to have with the New Zealand A team over there is still going to show me where things are at for them. While it is hugely disappointing for them, the door is certainly not closed."

New Zealand A side also include Silver Ferns Evans, Veronese, Sheryl Clarke and Jenny-May Coffin.

New Zealand A: Tania Dalton (Sting), Daneka Wipiiti (Force), Katie Ritchie (Rebels), Angela Evans (Flames), Anna Rowberry (Diamonds), Amigene Metcalfe Magic), Jenny-May Coffin (Magic), Joline Henry (Magic), Anna Veronese (Flames), Sheryl Clarke (Force), Rachel Rasmussen (Diamonds) and Kylie Young (Sting).

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