Dual international Donna Loffhagen has withdrawn from the Silver Fern netball squad to concentrate on her basketball career.

Loffhagen wants to play basketball for New Zealand at next year's Commonwealth Games in Melbourne.

Netball New Zealand confirmed today that the 26-year-old shooter had pulled out of the national squad.

Her decision comes after her recent success with the Canberra Capitals in the Australian Women's Basketball League, where she finished the season as the competition's top rebounder.

Loffhagen has played 55 times for the Silver Ferns, the last occasion being back in 2002.

Loffhagen said she had enjoyed being part of the Silver Fern squad again since last September, after representing New Zealand at the Athens Olympics basketball tournament.

However, she had made the decision to concentrate on basketball for the long term.

"With the Commonwealth Games just around the corner, it's important that the Silver Fern selectors have time to plan ahead for that," she said.

"In saying that, it's equally important for my future that I focus my concentration on the sport that I hope to play in the Commonwealth Games, that sport being basketball."

Silver Fern coach Ruth Aitken said she was disappointed at losing Loffhagen's services, but was happy for the player to pursue her basketball ambitions.

"Naturally I'm disappointed to lose such a talented player as Donna," Aitken said.

"But I know she will continue to succeed, whichever court she chooses to play on."

Loffhagen is not finished with netball yet, however. She will turn out again for defending National Bank Cup champions the Southern Sting in this year's competition.

Her commitments with the Sting forced her to turn down an offer to play for top American women's team the Connecticut Suns.

- NZPA