Millie Lees already has three test caps to her name but she is almost discounting those after returning to the Silver Ferns team for the first time since 2009.
The 23-year-old Central Pulse midcourter will graduate from medical school in December and it's been her progress towards that qualification that's taken precedence since she made her international debut against England three years ago.
Now, with the study commitments almost at an end, Lees said she finally felt like an international netball player.
"Last time I got into the team it was because of an injury, so I was almost pulled in," Lees said ahead of Sunday's Constellation Cup clash with Australia in Melbourne.
"This time round feels a lot more special because I feel like it's more deserved, that I have really fought for the position and been selected and so it is actually like the first time I've made it properly."
The retirement of Temepara George and unavailability of Liana Leota, meant a new player was always going to occupy the wing attack position.
Wellington-based Silver Ferns coach Waimarama Taumaunu has long been an admirer of Lees and there was a suspicion that the Pulse player would make the squad.
Even if Taumaunu never let on to Lees.
"She doesn't give much away and she's pretty honest when it comes to giving you feedback and things, so I always knew she was encouraging of my game and I love her as a coach and she's great to have in Wellington," Lees said.
"But I definitely didn't know if she was, you know, going to pick me or not beforehand."
It won't be a picnic. Australia aren't the best team in the world for no reason.
"Everyone keeps asking: am I feeling the pressure? And I say: well, I am now because everyone keeps mentioning it," Lees said.
Like New Zealand's other players, Lees is yet to sign with a trans-Tasman netball league franchise for next year.
- © Fairfax NZ News
Is John Banks' upcoming trial the end for the ACT party?Related story: Banks takes only viable option