Former Silver Ferns captain Casey Kopua will return to top-level netball next season after re-signing with the Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic.

Kopua served as technical advisor at the Magic this season after pregnancy ruled her out of a playing role and had remained non-committal about her future.

Her return to the court is major boost to the franchise, who look set to lose a good chunk of their starting seven from this year to other franchises following the departure of coach Julie Fitzgerald to the Australian league next season.

Kopua joins Silver Fern midcourter Grace Rasmussen, and New Zealand A players Sam Sinclair, Kelly Jury and Monica Falkner as the Magic's first batch of signings for the 2017 ANZ Netball Elite League.


Magic coach Margaret Forsyth, who has stepped into the role vacated by Fitzgerald, said she is delighted to have two influential international players back in the ranks.

"It is great to have Casey and Grace back with the Magic as both are very influential players and people within our environment," Forsyth said.

"Casey is one of world netball's most experienced internationals and Grace is one of New Zealand's more influential players and they will be the soul of the team.

"They are both excellent with the younger players and great role models for netballers in our region."

Forsyth was also excited about the return of Sinclair and Jury, both who have Hillary Scholarships and are studying at Waikato University.

"Sam and Kelly are young players who show so much potential, as shown by their inclusion in the NZA team and we are delighted that they are keen to continue their careers with the Magic."

23 Aug, 2016 3:33pm
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Of the Magic's first batch of signings, Falkner is the only newcomer to the team.

Born in Opotiki and schooled in Whakatane (Trident High School), Falkner has recently returned from Canberra where she played for the NZ U21 team at the 20/U International Tournament. She is also studying at Waikato University.

"I am looking forward to working with Monica as she has real potential. It is the role of the Magic to nurture and develop that talent in a way that is best for Monica."

With shooting stocks thin on the ground in New Zealand, Falkner could yet land a starting role with the Magic next year. It is expected English import Jo Harten will follow Fitzgerald to the new Sydney franchise next season, along with defender Kristiana Manu'a and former Ferns midcourter Courtney Tairi, who both grew up in Sydney.