Sam Sinclair's ever-improving netballing ability saw her become an integral part of the Silver Ferns in 2018.

While she carried herself admirably and played plenty of good netball, it meant she was in the thick of things during a disappointing Commonwealth Games campaign and a change in coaches.

However, she says the team is back on the up and will be better for the challenges they faced last year.

"It's been a busy year. If I think back to the start of the year, we were in England and South Africa, then the Com Games, there was so much happening.


"I think the biggest thing this year is there has been a lot of growth, not just in me, but in netball in New Zealand. There have been lots of learnings and reviews done which I think will be pretty positive in the end."

She said, despite the results, being part of the New Zealand Commonwealth Games team was the best thing she had done in netball.

"I had a really good time just being part of that team, not just netball, everything else. That was the coolest thing, I was able to experience something completely different, something really big and recognised internationally."

One of the work-ons for the Silver Ferns as a team after the Commonwealth Games was having a "winning mindset".

"Every game was just as important as the last, no matter what the previous results were, we had to go into it with that winning mindset. I think there might've been a few of us that did that, but by the end of the year we've grown that winning mindset within the Silver Ferns environment as a whole."

"It was not that people didn't want to win, everyone there wanted to win, but it was more 'how will we do this?' and 'what will we do to make sure this happens?'. I think we got a bit lost along the way in terms of how we make that happen.

"It feels so long ago now and our mindset has shifted since the Games. It was tough at the time, but you get through it and it makes you better as a team and as people."

Karin Burger of the Pulse defends against Samantha Sinclair of the Magic during an ANZ Premiership match. Photo / Getty Images
Karin Burger of the Pulse defends against Samantha Sinclair of the Magic during an ANZ Premiership match. Photo / Getty Images

Silver Ferns coach Janine Southby did not last long after the Commonwealth Games and Sinclair said she was enjoying her time under Noeline Taurua, also from Rotorua.


"It's really cool, she brings different things to the table - obviously all coaches bring something different, but she's really deliberate in what she wants out of us. We all know where we're at and what we need to do to get better.

"The big push for this off-season is to work really hard and come back in pretty good shape. We've had a couple of pretty tough training camps, but it was enjoyable as well."

The big goal for Sinclair next year is to play in and do well at the Netball World Cup in Liverpool.

"That's a big one, it's six months away but that's really not that long in terms of what's coming in between now and then. The hard work has already started, it's been building before now, and we have an opportunity during the ANZ Premiership season to put our hands up for that."

"Everything that I do between now and then has to be at a high standard. I do enjoy [the pressure] because it means there's not just one thing you're aiming for and every step along the way counts for something."

She is one of the senior leaders in the Waikato/Bay of Plenty Magic these days and is excited about the potential of her side.

"We've had four weeks of pre-season together and it's been really positive. We're building really well - we didn't come out and smash it too hard, it has been really balanced and making sure we're enjoying what we're doing and getting to know each other.

"I'm really looking forward to seeing what we can achieve in 2019."