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Camilla Lees chasing Silver Ferns selection

HAMISH BIDWELL
Last updated 05:00 02/05/2012
Camilla Lees
WARWICK SMITH/Fairfax NZ
HIGHER HONOURS: Camilla Lees in action for the Pulse.

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It's not not hard to see Camilla Lees' dilemma.

Now in her sixth year of medical school, the 23-year-old should officially become a doctor in November. Only she might need a bit of time off between now and then and doesn't know if it would be too presumptuous to ask for it.

First picked in the Silver Ferns in 2009, the Central Pulse midcourter has been unavailable since. Lectures and exams had to take precedence, with Lees restricted to playing for the FastNet Ferns during holidays.

Year six is exam-free, however, and Lees is working at a general practice at the moment, before rotating into different specialties later in the year.

The greater flexibility means she's hopefully able to take herself out of international hibernation and, by happy coincidence, there's a spot open in the Silver Ferns' midcourt this year too.

Temepara George has retired from international netball and her replacement at wing attack, Liana Leota, is in England, unavailable.

"So I'm hoping it will be perfect timing," Lees said of her likely return to the selection frame.

"But there's so many great players coming through, like Grace Rasmussen ...so I think it [wing attack] is up for grabs for anyone."

Lees herself isn't entirely sure that she'll be free to play, anyway, for the eight tests the Silver Ferns have scheduled between September 16 and November 1.

"I really want to be but it's hard to kind of predict what's going to happen at the end of the year [because] I can't assume that I'll definitely be picked," she said yesterday.

But her situation dictates that she almost has to.

"So that's the predicament I'm in, because I'll need to let the university know well in advance if I'm going to need that time off because they might need me to do that at a different time to be able to graduate."

While there's a lot that's out of Lees' hands, the thing she's sure about is her ability to be an international wing attack. Once just an out-and-out centre, Lees used to daunted by the "dominant" hand a wing attack is required to play.

She feels ready to play it now, even if she can't even get a start there for the Pulse. Lees has had the odd quarter at wing attack but, by and large, Pulse coach Robyn Broughton feels she is better value to the team at centre.

But Broughton does think Lees "could be quite a good wing attack".

"She's not an Adine Wilson, but she could start to look that way. She's quite clever and she could actually be quite good there," Broughton said.

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But Lees isn't agitating for a change. "I think it would benefit my game, being at wing attack, but I want to do what's best for the team and I enjoy playing centre as well."

The Pulse's midcourt has been a topic of great discussion this year and Lees knows why.

"Our defence are getting so many gains and then we're losing it on attack. But it's so tight and there's so much pressure in the midcourt that you're going to make mistakes and we just have to reduce the number of errors that we're making."

The seventh-placed Pulse meet the New South Wales Swifts (sixth) in Sydney on Sunday.

- The Dominion Post

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