Claiming to play with the same flair as Jamaica, the physicality of Australia and the same unpredictable nature as Malawi, the New Zealand men's netball team are ready to give the Silver Ferns a run for their money.

"We're here to help the Ferns prepare for the World Cup and try get them a gold but we have our own goals as well and a win is one of them," Men's midcourter Kevin Bell said during a training game in Auckland over the weekend.

"If we weren't there to try to win, we wouldn't enter a team into the competition."

Bell was one of the 11 players selected to face the Ferns in the historic game which will be part of the upcoming International Netball Series leading into the Netball World Cup.


It will be the first time a men's side plays the Silver Ferns as part of a broadcasted and internationally recognised series.

The Men's team at a Silver Ferns training session. Photo / Facebook
The Men's team at a Silver Ferns training session. Photo / Facebook

The men's team are set to put up a fresh challenge with a game plan 34-year-old Bell said would push the Silver Ferns out of their comfort zone.

"We're looking at playing a fast, flatter side of netball mixed between the New Zealand zone and tight one-on-one marking defensively," he says.

"The women's game is very structured whereas in the men's game, we've got our own little bit of flavour. We like to play a bit more of an aerial game, with a bit more flair, a bit more flamboyant as well."

Along with their physical strengths, the Men's side will feature a lineup of veterans.

Midcourter Junior Manapori will bring 19 years of netball experience to the court when he faces the likes of Silver Ferns captain Laura Langman and Casey Kopua.

These netballers make up our New Zealand Mens Invitational Netball Team to make their historic debut in the Cadbury...

Posted by New Zealand Men's & Mixed Netball Association on Sunday, 2 June 2019

Manapori has spent eleven years of his career in the national programme and said it was an exciting prospect to finally be able to showcase what he can do.

"I'm looking forward to being in an environment we've never been in, a televised netball game, a crowd of this magnitude, it's going to be huge," Manapori says.


"Lots of friends and family have messaged me and said they are looking forward to the series.

"It's quite nerve-wracking, it really is, because it's something we've never had as men's netballers, so for us it's huge."

Having seen how the sport has developed since its early years, Manapori said the clash will mark one the biggest opportunities they've had to put the men's game on the map.

"We want to make sure that we're preparing our women for the World Cup ... but also sharing the men's netball brand and what we offer to the sport too," he said.

"We've played the Ferns on numerous occasions in closed sessions so for us this is a huge milestone for men's netball as a whole.

"We are a small netball community but we're growing and this opportunity provides us with that exposure and being able to put the men's game on display."

The New Zealand Men will face the Silver Ferns on June 27 at 8:00 pm.