Delighted Liana Leota working on her fitness

NATHAN BURDON
Last updated 05:00 11/06/2014
Liana Leota
DAVID UNWIN/Fairfax NZ
WORK TO DO: Returning Silver Fern Liana Leota admits she's not yet at full fitness.

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Liana Leota is confident she can get close to full fitness between now and the Commonwealth Games.

The 29-year-old mother of three was yesterday named in the Silver Ferns team for the first time since 2011, just 11 weeks after giving birth to her third child, daughter Karney.

During testing this week, Leota rated herself about "65 to 75 percent" fitness.

"I'm getting there, which is the positive thing for me because I was miles off. The netball skills and the head are there, it's just the fitness, not so much strength and the gym stuff but running and getting that aerobic ability up," Leota said.

"I don't think I'll be 100 percent [in Glasgow].I've had two kids in the past two-and-a-half years so I'll probably never get to where I was. I'll be close enough - give me three weeks."

Leota returned to training with the Pulse five weeks after giving birth and said it certainly wasn't her trans-Tasman league form which had earned her the trip to the Commonwealth Games.

"My turnover rate was too high and I did nothing on defence. Attack, yes. I had that calm head and ball placement but you can't rely on that."

Leota admitted Silver Ferns coach Waimarama Taumaunu had taken a gamble on her ahead of the likes of Grace Rasmussen and Millie Lees.

"I think it's my experience which got me through but there's a lot of stuff to work on," she said.

The timing of the Games is good for the England-based Leota, who will return to England with Brooklyn, 11, Torres, 2, and Karney in time for husband and professional rugby player Johnny Leota's pre-season training with Sale in mid-July.

Having her three children and wider family in the stands in Glasgow would be a magic moment, she said.

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- The Southland Times

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