In and out of the Magic, Elias Shadrock is now making her mark. Aaron Goile reports.
This time last year Elias Shadrock was running round Hamilton's Minogue Park courts with her netballing dreams far outweighing the level at which she was playing.
But after slugging it out in those club games, the 22-year-old from Putaruru was yesterday rewarded for her determination, being named as a Silver Ferns triallist for the first time.
After being a benchwarmer for the Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic in 2009 and 2010, Shadrock was then dropped from the squad last year, before coming on in leaps and bounds this season and storming into international contention.
Her displays at wing defence were composed, and helped the Magic curtail their traditional midcourt woes and go on to win the ANZ Championship.
Now with Ferns midcourt spots up for grabs with Joline Henry pregnant and Temepara George retired, Shadrock has a real chance to force her way into the mix.
Yesterday, the former New Zealand under-21 representative was named as one of 25 players to trial in Auckland from August 13 to 16.
Following that trial, a Silver Ferns team of 12 will be named for September's three-test Constellation Cup series against Australia, while a bigger Silver Ferns squad will also be announced, along with a national accelerant squad.
Shadrock has known about her inclusion for a few days, after Silver Ferns coach Waimarama Taumaunu called her last week.
"Obviously she said congratulations firstly for winning ANZ and then asked if I wanted to come trial," Shadrock said.
"It was a bit scary, I couldn't even believe she was actually ringing me to be honest," she said of the feeling.
"But yeah, obviously happy."
Having been told the good news, Shadrock then had to keep her lips zipped until it was made public yesterday.
"Mum and them aren't too good at keeping secrets so I thought oh no better not tell them this one," Shadrock said, before she rang her parents yesterday morning.
"They're proud and they're happy for me, and they've always supported me in anything I do."
Shadrock, who turned out for her University club at the weekend, said it was amazing how things could happen in such a short space of time and said the key for her progress was taking the opportunities when they were presented.
She said she was lucky that Magic coach Noeline Taurua signed her up this season and then gave her the chance on court when Jess Tuki was injured.
"It's been quite good that she stuck with me out there and believed in me, and once I knew that, then I just got that belief in myself and it's just pretty much blossomed from there."
Shadrock also credits her off-season fitness work for her remarkable turnaround, getting herself into the condition to play at the higher level.
She said doing her own job at wing defence and not worrying about anything else had also aided her progress with the Magic, though she is still keen to work on her centre game as much as wing defence.
At next month's trial, Shadrock is looking to keep doing what she's been doing and sees it as another opportunity to show what she's got.
She will be surrounded by a number of familiar faces at the trial, with fellow Magic players Irene van Dyk, Casey Williams, Laura Langman, Leana de Bruin, Julianna Naoupu and Tuki all selected.
Fellow Magic player Sulu Tone-Fitzpatrick was part of the previous Silver Ferns squad but has not been asked to trial, while Amber Bellringer and Portia Woodman were in the accelerant squad but weren't wanted either.
Silver Ferns triallists: Current Silver Ferns squad members: 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. Current national accelerant squad members: 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.