By RICHARD BOOCK
Te Aroha Keenan has been handed a Team Pasifika netball combination with a sting at each end of the court and plenty of variety in between.
The composite side to compete in the upcoming Fisher and Paykel netball series against the Silver Ferns includes outstanding Fijian goal-keep Vilimaina Davu and the Cook Island's 1.90m goal-shoot Monica Gabriel.
All but three of the 12-strong squad were involved in last year's world championships and two - Teresa Tairi and Sheryl Clarke - were members of the New Zealand team and the New Zealand training squad, respectively.
Late replacements for the Fijian netballers, Team Pasifika were apparently needed in order to maintain the integrity of the tri-series, and to provide the Ferns with an adequate build-up before the three internationals against the world selection.
However, with experience to burn and options aplenty off the bench, coach Keenan expects her side to prove more than competitive while adding an attractive element to the tri-series.
"I'm pretty excited with this group," she said yesterday.
"There's a lot of flair and talent on board and they all wanted to play - despite having to take time off from work.
"There's a lot of variety right through the court and the options available off the bench provide genuine flexibility."
Team Pasifika will meet the Silver Ferns in Auckland on June 27 and Palmerston North on June 29.
They will also play the New Zealand under-21 team in Wellington on July 1
Team Pasifika: Teresa Tairi, Angela Maoate, Monica Gabriel, Irene Forbes, Anna Tai, Melissa Fotu, Sheryl Clarke, Amanda Dunlop, Lisa Bogiwalu, Vilimaina Davu (captain), Ruta Tai.
By RICHARD BOOCK