Height and athleticism were key factors in the shock elevation of bolter Bailey Mes to the Silver Ferns today.
Ferns coach Waimarama Taumaunu has made the bold decision to include Mes in her 12-strong squad for next month's three-test Constellation Cup series against Australia.
At last week's three-day trials in Auckland, Mes impressed Taumaunu and the selectors at wing attack.
Despite minimal court time for the Northern Mystics this season, Mes will be given the chance to fill Temepara George's sizable void in the midcourt, though the Central Pulse's Camilla Lees is likely to be given first crack in the opening test in Melbourne.
Taumaunu said Mes turned heads with her athleticism and at 1.86m tall, would bring a different dimension to the Ferns midcourt play.
"By Thursday it was a very logical call," Taumaunu said. "She played her way in. She was one of the fittest people in the group.
"It gives us a different way of playing through there. The variety of style she offers was one of the telling factors in the end."
Mes has been involved with the Mystics for three seasons, but predominately as a shooter. She is listed as a goal attack/goal shoot on their website.
This year, her path has been blocked in the midcourt by George and English captain Jade Clarke.
Her left-field selection was bad news for team-mate Grace Rasmussen and Canterbury Tactix shooter Anna Thompson. Both players were named in the wider squad of 16.
Veteran Tactix shooter Jodi Brown was another surprise inclusion after her five-year absence from the international game.
The 31-year-old got the nod ahead of talented Magic goal attack Julianna Naoupu, who has been instructed to take better care of her injured knee.
Naoupu is, however, likely to receive a call-up later in the year.
"That wasn't a difficult choice at the expense of Juliana," Taumaunu said of Brown's inclusion. "She [Naoupu] has a niggling patella tendon problem. We've taken this opportunity to put her on a strict rehab programme, with the view that later on we will be able to get her on the court as well."
Ferns captain Casey Williams backed Brown to step up after last appearing for the national team at the 2007 world championships in Auckland.
Since then Brown has she has played for the Tactix, Magic and Steel, and had two children.
"She looks in good form," Williams said of Brown. "She is very smart and very sneak and can work with any combination."
SILVER FERNS SQUAD
Shooters: Irene van Dyk, Maria Tutaia, Cathrine Latu, Jodi Brown
Midcourt: Laura Langman (vice-captain), Camilla Lees, Bailey Mes, Kayla Cullen
Defence: Leana de Bruin, Katrina Grant, Anna Harrison, Casey Williams (captain)
- © Fairfax NZ News