Former Silver Fern Anna Galvan will bolster the Tactix defence with her first foray into the trans-Tasman netball league.
The 30-year old defender was yesterday confirmed in the side for next year's ANZ Championship leaving just one spot to be filled by the November 2 deadline.
Galvan, who can cover all three defensive positions, last played at the elite level in New Zealand in 2006 when she was part of the Southern Sting team which finished second in the old domestic league.
She has since been working as the high performance manager for Canterbury Netball but is excited about swapping the administrative duties for playing ones.
The 1.84m defender joins Silver Fern Charlotte Kight, Australian import Peta Stephens and Victoria Smith in the defensive line for the Tactix.
"I've loved watching the championship from the couch and thinking how much I'd like to be involved," Galvan said. "To get this opportunity now is so exciting."
Her festive season has now been booked up with a strict training programme but not even the hard yards she faces to return to full fitness can dull Galvan's enthusiasm about stepping back into the elite game.
Her signing comes off the back of her return to the court for the Canterbury team at the national championships when she answered an SOS call and helped the side to third place.
She had been playing in the North Canterbury club competition for the Clarkville team which did not train during the week.
"I was just playing netball when I could fit it in really," she said. "But I was lucky that some mums from school had a running group together, training for a half marathon, which I was part of, so I had the base aerobic fitness."
When the Canterbury team found themselves short on defence, through injury and unavailability, Galvan was an obvious choice to turn to.
"I can't underestimate how much I enjoyed being in the company of my old mates and then also playing alongside some of the young girls like Ellen (Halpenny) and Poff (Hannah Poff) who I coached at Villa Maria." But her return to the court was hampered when she broke her wrist five weeks before the national championships in Invercargill. She had removed the cast just days before heading south.
"We were also moving house at the time so it was a big decision but I played and just loved it."
Galvan though is aware the step into the ANZ Championship is a big one from playing at the national tournament.
"It's a whole new ball game to be honest but that's a challenge that also excites me."
Juggling her family life – with husband Hugh and three young children – and the demands of netball will take some co-ordination but Galvan is confident she has the support system in place. "I really want to play and most people said to me `look you've got to do it now or else it could be something that you regret later," the experienced Galvan said.
Tactix coach Helen Mahon-Stroud said the experience and passion that Galvan brought to the squad would be a "huge bonus" both on and off the court.
- © Fairfax NZ News