Newcomer Thompson in Silver Ferns trial mix
MATT RICHENS AND HAMISH BIDWELL
Tactix attacker Anna Thompson has another chance to prove herself as international netball material when 25 players trial for positions with the Silver Ferns and national accelerant squads next month.
Thompson and the other 12 current Silver Fern squad members will take part in the trial from August 13-16 in Auckland alongside 12 other players.
The current national accelerant squad, including Canterbury's Ellen Halpenny, will join them, as will six other players as invited guests.
Canterbury's Keshia Grant, who last year wasn't picked up by any ANZ Championship franchise, was one of those invited players, as were Elias Shadrock, Bailey Mes, Jodi Brown, Gina Crampton and Te Huinga Reo Selby-Rickit.
Grant, 25, was one of the Tactix's standouts this season in the midcourt, although she survived mostly on half games.
Her rise to prominence has happened so fast, Netball New Zealand spelt her christian name wrong on their release yesterday. A notable returnee to the selection mix is former Silver Ferns shooter Jodi Brown, who has committed to being available for the 2014 Commonwealth Games and world championships a year later.
Silver Ferns coach Waimarama Taumaunu will name on August 20 her squad to play in the Constellation Cup.
The players will be fitness-tested on day one, with the second and third days dedicated to morning and afternoon matches. The Thursday will feature a genuine Possibles versus Probables match, before exit testing.
"I'm keen to know what toll that number of games and that level of intensity takes on players, as they leave, and then the selectors and I will sit down and the team will be named on the following Monday," said Taumaunu.
Twelve players will be in that squad, for September's three test matches against Australia.
From the team that last met the Diamonds, Sulu Tone-Fitzpatrick has been scratched entirely, while Joline Henry and Liana Leota are both unavailable.
Camilla Lees looms as a candidate to replace Leota at wing attack, while Henry's wing defence bib could go to any number of players. Kayla Cullen would be a decent bet but Taumaunu sounds very keen on Elias Shadrock, while Jess Tuki might be another in the mix.
Henry has indicated she wants to return to the team after giving birth in January, but Leota's situation is less clear. She's just had a baby boy and is returning to England shortly, where she'll play in their national league.
"Trials are the final opportunity for players to impress the national selectors," Taumaunu said.
"And with this being the first year of building towards the World Championships in 2015, we want to give players every opportunity to push for selection."
Silver Ferns squad: Cathrine Latu, Leana de Bruin, Maria Tutaia, Irene van Dyk, Laura Langman, Kayla Cullen, Anna Harrison, Casey Williams, Katrina Grant, Camilla Lees, Paula Griffin, Grace Rasmussen, Anna Thompson. National accelerant squad: Ellen Halpenny, Julianna Naoupu, Jess Tuki, Shannon Francois, Daya Wiffen, Jessica Moulds. Invited players: Elias Shadrock, Keshia Grant, Bailey Mes, Jodi Brown, Gina Crampton, Te Huinga Reo Selby-Rickit.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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