Netball New Zealand insist they don't fear a player exodus, despite granting two exemptions in as many weeks for players to potentially play overseas.

The latest player to move away from New Zealand's netball premiership is Maria Folau, who has ended her nine-year-long career with the Northern Mystics to make a full-time move to Sydney to join her husband, Wallabies and Waratahs star, Israel.

When making the decision, Folau almost called time on her international netball career, but the veteran goal attack was granted a 12-month exemption by Netball NZ to remain eligible for the Silver Ferns' 2019 international season.

Folau is the second Silver Fern to be granted a trans-Tasman exemption in the past fortnight, after midcourter Laura Langman.


Langman, who was named in the Ferns 2018-19 squad last week, was barred from selection in 2017 when she played for the Sunshine Coast Lightning in Australia's Super Netball Competition.

However, with the Ferns needing a boost in talent and experience after their disastrous Commonwealth Games campaign, Netball NZ have changed their tune, allowing her to represent the Ferns despite uncertainty over whether she will play her franchise netball in Australia or New Zealand.

Such decisions has led to fears that the recent exemptions would see more players test their luck to play across the ditch, but Netball New Zealand CEO Jennie Wyllie said they weren't concerned.

"The board have been really clear that the circumstances around the eligibility policy haven't changed and exemptions are considered in exceptional circumstances and with both Maria and Laura that's what we had in front of us," Wyllie explained to Radio Sport.

"We are going to look at our selection policy and process as part two of our review but I think in this circumstance we're looking at it on a case by case basis, these are exceptional circumstances with different elements that go into each of these decisions."

Netball NZ CEO Jennie Wyllie. Photo / Photosport
Netball NZ CEO Jennie Wyllie. Photo / Photosport

Although admitting that the decision to grant Folau's exemption was tough, Wyllie said that Netball NZ simply couldn't afford to lose the 128-test veteran.

"We're really clear that we're about investing in our own talent pathway and growing that depth in our system so that we aren't needing to be reliant on one or two individuals," Wyllie said.

"But at this point, where we are in terms of our team and the experience that we require, this was deemed one of those exceptional circumstances.

"It was a really big decision for our board but there was clear consideration given to Maria's dedicated and long career with us with all those things in mind the board reached the right decision for Maria."

Folau described the call to leave New Zealand domestic netball as one of the hardest decisions in her life but said the mental toll of travelling had become too much.

Maria Folau played nine seasons for the Northern Mystics. Photo / Photosport
Maria Folau played nine seasons for the Northern Mystics. Photo / Photosport

"I consider the Northern Mystics my netball family and this club will always hold a special place in my heart," Folau said.

"I feel the time is right for me to make a full time move to my new home in Sydney. My life and my family are now based outside of New Zealand, so my support networks have also shifted across the Tasman."

It is expected that Folau will play for an Australian franchise in next year's Super Netball season with the Sydney-based Giants a likely option.

The retirement of Giants shooter Susan Pettitt would see a prime opening for Folau but a move to Queensland to join the Sunshine Coast Lightning could also be on the cards.

With many of Folau's immediate family based in Brisbane and Noeline Taurua, who is expected to be announced as the Silver Ferns new coach, so far committed to the Australian franchise until the end of 2019, it wouldn't be surprising to see Folau in the Lightning dress.