Silver Ferns coach Noeline Taurua is wary of overloading newly appointed captain Ameliaranne Ekenasio, admitting the star shooter is "still trying to find her feet".

Ekenasio will lead the Silver Ferns during the upcoming Nations Cup in the absence of former captain Laura Langman, who is taking a sabbatical along with veteran defender Katrina Rore.

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Ekenasio was surprised over her appointment, however, with recent posts on social media suggesting the goal attack was at risk of burning out.


In an Instagram post shared last month following the Super Club competition, Ekenasio wrote: "Haven't really felt like myself the past week. But I think that comes from trying to pour from a depleted cup to the point of having to squeeze every last bit out = getting sick. I guess I'll be lying a bit lower over the next little while so I can restock on all the good things".

Taurua admitted the new role would be a "massive addition" to Ekenasio's workload but downplayed any concern.

"I suppose there have been things addressed," Taurua said. "... She wasn't expecting it, let's put it that way and she knows that she's still trying to find her feet."

"One of the things we've been amazed at is over the World Cup, over the Constellation Cup, she's really cemented herself as one of the best goal attacks in the world I believe and because of that, she puts so much into it that I suppose when you do have a bit of downtime you have to keep it all balanced.

Silver Ferns coach Noeline Taurua. Photo / Getty
Silver Ferns coach Noeline Taurua. Photo / Getty

"It's something new that she will have to be able to contend with and how she works that through, we'll have to make sure we put the structures in and around her so we are not overloading her and that's something that we're mindful of.

"At the moment, I have no worries about it but I think it's something that she has to learn."

With the intent of better spreading the load, Taurua named Gina Crampton and Jane Watson as vice-captains for the series.

The trio give insight to the next generation of the Silver Ferns following the retirement of legends Maria Folau and Casey Kopua, with uncertainty around Rore and Langman's future in the black dress.


Taurua said the new leadership group would play a major role in her overall succession plan.

"What I'm mindful of is that in four years time, 2023, is when the next World Cup is going to be so we need to get that succession planning now so that we're not exposed when those two players of Laura and Katrina do go, that we're left with a massive hole," she said.

"Whether Ameliranne stays on for that next campaign at the end of the season, time will tell, but the good thing is that we are growing that next level of leaders underneath and that's what we need to be able to do, to be smart so that we have that succession planning nailed."

The Silver Ferns will play the England Roses in Nottingham in their first match of the upcoming series.

It's the first time the sides meet since last year's Netball World Cup where the Ferns knocked England out in the semi-finals.

Taurua said they're expecting a tough match.

"There will be a bit of an emphasis behind them, knowing that they probably have to back themselves up," Taurua said.

"They want to stamp their mark and now that we're current world champs, what better way to be able to do that than against the current world champs."