The Silver Ferns selectors have made three changes to the national squad, including the addition of uncapped youngsters Monica Falkner and Whitney Souness.

With Silver Ferns coach Janine Southby rotating her line-up over the upcoming Quad Series and Taini Jamison Trophy, both players will have the opportunity to make their international debut over the next month.

Souness has been named in the 12-strong Quad Series team, while Falkner has been included in the test line-up for the Taini Jamison series against England in September.

The other change sees Temalisi Fakahokotau return to the national squad for the first time since 2014. Fakahokotau debuted for Silver Ferns in 2014, when she was just 19, but failed to build on her breakthrough season and was later dropped from the squad.


Falkner, a crafty goal attack, has been elevated to the senior squad after helping the under-21 side to back-to-back titles at the World Youth Cup in Botswana last month.

The 21-year-old, who is studying towards a science degree at Waikato University, said her Silver Ferns selection came as a major surprise having only just completed her first season of top-level netball with the Magic.

"It's just gone from zero to one hundred very fast. This time last year I had just finished my first Beko season," said Falkner.

"It's definitely happened a lot quicker than I expected, but I am just embracing it and I guess just being willing to learn and develop every chance I can."

Souness caught the eye of selectors after a strong season with the Central Pulse. The selection of the dynamic midcourter comes after she missed most of the 2016 season with a serious knee injury suffered over the back end of 2015.

The Porirua-born star said the tough couple of years made today's news all the more rewarding.

"Doing my ACL was a big setback for me and it was tough missing out on my chance with the Pulse last year. This year coming back in my focus was to play franchise again and play some really good netball," the 22-year-old said.

"For me it was definitely a mental thing. Physically, I had rehabbed really well and built that strength back up, but it takes some time to be able to really push it to the back of your mind and play the way you normally would."

A shift to the Mainland Tactix this season has reinvigorated Fakahokotau's career, with the youngster making impressive strides in her discipline both on and off the court.
Fakahokotau's reselection in the New Zealand squad has come at the expense of Storm Purvis - the player who effectively replaced her at the Mystics.

The young defender will have the chance to add to her two caps in the Taini Jamison series.

Southby said with the Commonwealth Games just nine months away, she needs to see what the newcomers can bring to the international environment now.

"This is a crucial time for us as we countdown to the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in April," Southby said.

"Our upcoming matches against Australia, South Africa and England will provide further opportunities for us to build combinations and expose players to the intensity of test match netball.

"There is some exciting, young talent coming through and we've seen them stand up and consistently deliver under pressure in the ANZ Premiership and at Netball World Youth Cup. Now we'll get the opportunity to test them on the international stage."

The selectors also named a development squad for the upcoming season featuring four players from the victorious NZU21 team, as well as the return of Ameliaranne Ekenasio following the birth of her first child.

The Silver Ferns will open their international season in Brisbane on August 26 against South Africa in the Netball Quad Series.

Silver Ferns squad:
Katrina Grant (captain), Maria Tutaia (vice captain), Gina Crampton, Kayla Cullen, Temalisi Fakahokotau*, Monica Falkner*, Shannon Francois, Kelly Jury, Phoenix Karaka, Bailey Mes, Grace Rasmussen, Te Paea Selby-Rickit, Sam Sinclair, Whitney Souness*, Jane Watson, Maia Wilson.
*new to squad this year

Silver Ferns test line-up - Quad Series:
Grant, Tutaia, Crampton, Francois, Jury, Karaka, Mes, Selby-Rickit, Sinclair, Souness, Watson, Wilson.

Silver Ferns test line-up - Taini Jamison trophy:
Grant, Tutaia, Crampton, Cullen, Fakahokotau, Falkner, Francois, Jury, Mes, Rasmussen, Selby-Rickit, Watson.

Silver Ferns development squad:
Ellie Bird, Ameliaranne Ekenasio, Abby Erwood, Jamie Hume, Claire Kersten, Tiana Metuarau, Erikana Pedersen, Storm Purvis, Michaela Sokolich-Beatson, Zoe Walker.