There's a long-standing joke in Silver Ferns coach Waimarama Taumaunu's household that is beginning to look more and more realistic.

Tiana Metuarau, Taumaunu's netball-mad daughter, was still at intermediate school when she boldly proclaimed she wanted to make the Silver Ferns before she turns 18 - the age her mother, a former national captain, was first selected in the New Zealand team.

Now just turned 14, Metuarau is on track to reaching her goal after being named in the NZ Secondary Schools team for this month's Under-19 transtasman tournament in Rotorua.

With Metuarau easily the youngest player in the 12-strong squad, Taumaunu is starting to get a little twitchy about her household record.


"There's some rivalry around that. She has kind of said it jokingly since she was quite young, now it's starting to get a little uncomfortable," joked Taumaunu. "The landscape has changed a lot over the years, but I guess if this is the first step and it has been for others, then she is on track."

While Taumaunu was a bustling defender in her day, her daughter has found a home in the shooting circle and has impressed her age-group coaches with her accuracy and composure under pressure.

Metuarau was named in the tournament team at last year's national secondary school championships - a rare accolade for a player in her first year of high school - after some stunning performances for her Wellington East Girls' College side.

But despite the youngster's eye-catching efforts last season, Taumaunu said her selection in the national side still came as a shock.

"I was really impressed with her attitude actually, she went up to trials to put her hand up and show she belonged in that company so that was as much as she was hoping to do."

It was so unexpected, in fact, Taumaunu has scheduled a Silver Ferns' regional cluster session at the same time as this month's tournament, so she will only be able to watch her daughter play on the final day.

But Taumaunu has no shortage of opportunities to watch her daughter in action, with Metuarau playing school, age-group and occasionally club netball. The young shooter played premier club netball (a tier down from the top "premier 1" grade) for Wellington's famous PIC club when she was 12, but this year has had to pull back on her club commitments to focus on representative netball.

But Metuarau continues to train with PIC when she can.


"She loves it and she has played school and club in the past, running from one game to the next, but she can't do that this year as it was just too much," said her mother.

Taumaunu isn't the only Silver Ferns legend offering Metuarau guidance, with another former national captain, Sandra Edge, coaching the youngster at age-group level.

The teen is one of four Wellington-based players to make the NZ Secondary Schools team, and Taumaunu said it was a credit to the work Edge has done with the Netball Central Zone's development programmes. "Sandra has done some great work, they've had some great age-group programmes going and she should take a lot of credit for these kids."