With the Silver Ferns team to travel to the United Kingdom being named early next week, and no official update on the status of shooting legend Maria Folau, several fringe players have the chance to make it into the squad. Ferns coach Noeline Taurua isn't holding trials per se, but confirmed that any player who impresses at the Super Club tournament will have a chance to re-sit their fitness test if previously failed, giving hope to some of the young shooters. 2019 Silver Ferns player of the year Ameliaranne Ekenasio will be a definite inclusion, but who else has put their hand up? After analysing the defensive options yesterday, Merryn Anderson looks at the shooting selection debate.
Bailey Mes (Northern Mystics)
Making her debut in 2012, Mes has impressed with her athleticism for the Silver Ferns and was part of the winning World Cup team this year. Expect to see her playing at goal attack for the Mystics with 1.93m Grace Nweke holding down the goal shoot position. While that restricts her shooting volume, Mes is still likely to be selected for the Ferns, in either shooting position, or even at wing attack. The Mystics have been strong at Super Club, winning their third game by 21 goals as all the squad managed to get on court yesterday and contributed to their 52-31 win over the Wasps.
Maia Wilson (Northern Stars)
Ordinarily seen at goal shoot, Wilson has a strong holding game under the post, but has also received gametime at goal attack for the Stars recently. Wilson shot 31/33 in the Stars' loss against the Collingwood Magpies yesterday. Both teams seemed tired on their third consecutive day of play, with the Stars committing 30 turnovers over 48 minutes of play, and the Magpies' strong start led them to a 53-41 win.
Te Paea Selby-Rickit (Mainland Tactix)
With 42 Silver Ferns test caps since 2016, Selby-Rickit may have had less court time in 2019 than she hoped but will be anticipating her offseason move from the Steel to the Tactix pays off. She connected at 91 per cent accuracy in the Tactix's 51-43 loss to the Magic on day three of Super Club.
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Aliyah Dunn (Central Pulse)
Many expected Dunn to be selected for the World Cup, but Taurua was very explicit that players who did not meet the fitness standards would not be selected. A failed yo-yo test ruled Dunn out of contention for that squad, but Dunn has the chance to re-sit the test if Taurua wants her in the team. Dunn played close to a full game at goal shoot in the Pulse's 51-28 smashing of the Southern Steel and had good accuracy and volume, slotting 26 of her 30 attempts.
Grace Nweke (Northern Mystics)
The 17-year-old is already a member of the Silver Ferns development squad, but was not considered for this year's Netball World Cup due to not meeting the fitness criteria for the team. Nweke's accuracy was down from her usual standards on day three of Super Club, shooting 19/24 over two quarters, but impressed the day before, shooting at 88 per cent accuracy in a full game on court.
Kelsey McPhee (Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic)
The Magic are fairly inexperienced at the shooting end, but McPhee has been stepping up for her side, shooting at 92 per cent on day two, and then hitting 32 of 40 shots on day three. The 22-year-old isn't part of the 2019/2020 Development Squad, but looks a good prospect to be in a future Ferns line-up. McPhee had a shaky start in yesterday's 51-43 win over the Tactix, missing four of her first seven shots, but the Magic shooters had the necessary volume to make up for it, taking 16 more attempts at goal than the Tactix.
Ellie Bird (Mainland Tactix)
Another player who didn't meet coach Taurua's fitness standards, the 6'4" Bird brings the height in the goal shoot position that the Ferns haven't been able to find since the legendary Irene Van Dyk. Bird shot at 91 per cent yesterday with good volume, but may need to add more to her game to be selected for the Ferns.
Jennifer O'Connell (Southern Steel)
Struggled slightly with her accuracy yesterday, shooting at 74 per cent, but the Steel shooter is improving her game and adding new skills to her repertoire, showcasing superior movement to create space and better angles for her midcourters.
The Super Club teams have a break for community day today, while the semifinals will be contested on Thursday, with the undefeated Collingwood Magpies taking on last year's champions, the Central Pulse, while the very strong Northern Mystics challenge the ever-improving Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic.