Silver Ferns captain Ameliaranne Ekenasio will miss the remainder of the ANZ Premiership netball season, as well as the test series later this year, after announcing her pregnancy on Friday.
Ferns coach Noeline Taurua congratulated the 30-year-old shooter and husband Damien on the news after the couple welcomed their first child, Ocean, in 2017.
"The ability for our elite female athletes to be mothers whilst still performing at the highest level is no mean feat. Massive congratulations to Ameliaranne, Damien and the whānau. I hope they enjoy this moment as we all look forward to meeting the newest member of our Silver Ferns family," Taurua said.
Ekenasio, who was handed the captaincy last year and recently led the Ferns to their first Constellation Cup series win since 2012, has not featured for the Pulse in the first three rounds of the domestic competition after taking a mental health break, the Pulse confirmed last month.
AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
Taurua said it had been a pleasure to watch Ekenasio, who played a key part in the Ferns' 2019 World Cup triumph and was named the Silver Ferns' Player of the Year, grow both as an athlete and captain since taking on the leadership role.
"I think we've all watched with a sense of pride with just how far she has come with her game on court and growing confidence as a Silver Fern," Taurua said.
"Now her focus will be on her young family and enjoying those special new moments, and we certainly wish her well."
While the fixtures are yet to be confirmed, Netball NZ said in a statement that Ekenasio would not feature in the international netball series to be played later this year but "will continue to work with Taurua and the Silver Ferns management team".