Barnett delighted to get game time

Georgia Barnett has engraved her name as the most recent Black Sticks international following a long line of Manawatu women.

It was only the first half of Friday night's 4-1 win over India at Wellington but the Palmerston North Girls' High School student excelled.

She said she made three saves by going out and scrambling the ball away, but there was a one-on-one and several penalty corners saved.

"I felt like staying on," Barnett said.

At the start of the tour, she was told by coach Mark Hager that most of the game time in Palmerston North would go to Canterbury goalkeeper Amelia Gibson.

So Barnett, 18, was happy to get her 35 minutes. She is essentially ranked the No 4 goalie in New Zealand behind Olympic Games team goalie Bianca Russell (who is on extended leave), Sally Rutherford (who returned to Auckland to complete her PhD) and Gibson.

Barnett is in the national development squad of 10 and the other goalie there is Liz Gifford, the former Feilding High School student who has been studying at Otago University.

In February, Barnett will be off to the Junior World Cup qualifying on the Gold Coast alongside another goalkeeper, Sarah Matthews (Auckland). While Barnett was nervous making her debut in Wellington, she had been part of the team in Palmerston North standing in the middle for the anthems and in the dugout.

But when Hager knocked on her door, where she was rooming with fellow Manawatu player Michaela Curtis, Barnett was taken aback.

"When he said, ‘Georgia, you will play the first half and Amelia the second', I didn't really believe him at first; I was shocked.

"I had been a bit nervous even going into camp with the girls. I was wondering if I'd be out of my depth.

"After the first training in [Palmerston North] I was over it and felt I could do it. It has made me hungrier."

Curtis scored her second goal for New Zealand on Friday night and she played in five of the six tests. The series ended 5-0 to the Black Sticks with one draw, the fourth test in Palmerston North.

The next series for the Black Sticks is away to Argentina in February. Curtis will go with the Junior Black Sticks if she isn't wanted for Argentina.

"I was pretty stoked," she said yesterday. "I didn't expect to get the game time time I did."

Friday: New Zealand 4 (Katie Glynn 2, Anita Punt, Michaela Curtis) India 1 (Kaur Jaspreet) HT 2-0

Saturday: New Zealand 6 (Katie Glynn 2, Stacey Michelsen, Olivia Merry, Cassandra Reid, own goal) India 5 HT 2-3.

Manawatu Standard