Pine trio earn NZ honours
Three members of the club national championship-winning Nelson Pine men's volleyball team have been named in a New Zealand team to compete at the South Pacific indoor champs in Auckland.
Pine captain Pat Shone will come back into the New Zealand setup after some time away from the national scene to play setter, Wellington-based Charlie Stewart is a passer-hitter who is very familiar to the New Zealand side, and Jack Redpath will get his first opportunity in the top team as the defensive specialist libero.
The trio will head to the SPC champs being played April 1-6 to compete against a number of Auckland and North Harbour-based clubs, as well as some club teams from Pacific Island nations.
Potential internationals from Auckland will turn out for their club teams, so the tournament is being used as a camp for players to push their case to be involved in a New Zealand setup for "greater things" later in the year.
There is the potential for the players to be in a New Zealand team that is likely to attend the Asian Games in Dubai in September, and world championship qualifying.
Redpath said the national club champs in Nelson last September had been a chance for players to push their case for a silver fern.
"I think our selection would have had quite a bit to do with the result at club nationals," he said.
New Zealand game development manager Warren Smith confirmed Redpath's comments.
"All three players acquitted themselves wonderfully at national championships," Smith said.
"From that it was pretty clear they would have a relatively high chance of getting selected.
"We hope the Nelson boys acquit themselves well at this level, as well. They can look forward trying out for greater things.
"We are back in a world championships qualifying year and we have the Asian Games, so this tournament will build the team for those opportunities later in the year," Smith said.
- © Fairfax NZ News