Silver Ferns shooter Ameliaranne Ekenasio has opened up on the absence of a payout after winning the Netball World Cup, saying the team plays for pride, not for money.
Hours after the Silver Ferns lifted the Netball World Cup in Liverpool on Monday morning (NZT) it was revealed that there was no prize money up for grabs from event organisers.
It was a stark contrast to the $3 million the Black Caps earned for finishing runners-up in the Cricket World Cup just a week before.
A further slap in the face came overnight when the South African netball team, which finished fourth, were given a R1.2m (NZ$130,000) bonus from a sponsor to share among the 12-player squad.
But arriving at Auckland Airport this morning, Ekenasio said while a bonus would be nice, it was part of the reality of being a Silver Fern.
"The biggest thing is you can't compare the cricketers to us," she said.
"We play for pride, pride in the fern and the black dress. That is what gets our passion burning.
"No one here plays for the money, no one ever has. How cool would it be to get a payout, but unfortunately that's not the case."
Teammate Phoenix Karaka added similar sentiments on the pay issue.
"No feeling that could ever compare to winning a World Cup. No amount of money that could make you feel how we feel right now," she said after arriving home.
"It would be awesome if we could get a bonus but if we don't we're okay with that. Because we know we worked our butts off to get this gold medal. We didn't come here for a bonus.
Karaka, who was on the bench in the final, revealed she thought the Silver Ferns had a much bigger lead late in the game nearing the tight finish.
"I thought we were up by a lot more; I didn't have a gauge on only being one point ahead. I was just so happy as you can see we were jumping for joy and screaming our heads off on the sideline."
Yesterday, Silver Ferns major sponsor ANZ agreed to contribute to a fund to reward the New Zealand side for their championship-winning performance following comments from prime minister Jacinda Ardern.
Pointing out the invaluable exposure that major sponsors received from the Ferns' efforts, Ardern called on sponsors to consider a payout.
"I wouldn't want to call [the sponsors] out but ultimately they're the ones that derive benefit from us being the best on the world stage," Ardern told The AM Show.
"You couldn't have watched that game and say that those players weren't deserving of recognition ... Go on, why not [give them a bonus]?"
ANZ responded to the Prime Minister's comments, saying it is happy to contribute towards a fund to provide the Ferns with a payout.
"The Silver Ferns' World Cup victory was inspirational, so we're happy to work with other key stakeholders to contribute to a fund in recognition of the team's commitment and dedication," an ANZ spokesperson said in a statement to the Herald.
"ANZ values its partnership with Netball NZ and is incredibly proud of the Silver Ferns' Netball World Cup victory.
"Over the last 10 years, through highs and lows, we have invested about $30 million to help grow the sport of netball in New Zealand across all levels of the game from grassroots to elite.
"ANZ has been supporting women's sport in New Zealand for more than 10 years and we look forward to continuing this well into the future."
Another of the Silver Ferns' major sponsors, MYOB, said player incentives are negotiated through Netball NZ and not through sponsors.