Aotearoa Maori Secondary Schools defender Jaydi Taylor-Chaffey is one of three players returning to the Hawke's Bay team for next week's national under-17 netball tournament in Rangiora.
Goal shoot Emma Vennell and midcourter Jade Poi are the others. Add experienced Super 6 players Tia Lewis, Summer-Rose Taylor, Myer Pakoti and Alex Coddington to the trio and it's easy to see coach Lee-Anne Taylor won't be short of ammunition as she attempts to improve on last year's 18th placing.
Taylor-Chaffey and Poi have taken over the leadership role after the season-ending knee injury to New Zealand Secondary Schools midcourter Briana Stephenson.
"As a group we have had to show some resilience with some injuries this season but I think it's made us grow stronger as a group," coach Taylor said. "This year we have several combinations that offer different styles of netball and will be used to combat different defensive teams.
"We are lucky again to have 11 strong players who each contribute on and off the court.
"The team has had an excellent build up attending the Marj Jendon tournament in Wellington, Hawke's Bay tournament and Taupo tournament," she said.
"These tournaments have exposed the team to some of the top New Zealand Secondary Schools players. With each outing the girls have improved immensely, combinations and court plays are evident and the ability of the girls to alter tactics as required has grown."
Forty teams will play in the four-day event and Hawke's Bay's pool play opponents will be Pukekohe, South Canterbury, North Canterbury and last year's champions, Auckland One.
-Bay team: Jade Poi (co-captain), Jaydi Taylor-Chaffey (co-captain), Alex Coddington, Milly Douglas, Hinehea Keil, Tia Lewis, Myer Patoki, Zana Renton, Summer-Rose Taylor, Hannah Winnie, Emma Vennell.
Coach: Lee-Anne Taylor. Manager: Margot Kerins.