Tactix secure English skipper Jade Clarke

MATT RICHENS
Last updated 05:00 02/11/2012
Jade Clarke
Mark Taylor/Fairfax NZ
ENGLISH RECRUIT: Jade Clarke in action for the Magic in 2010.

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The Canterbury Tactix have strengthened their roster further with the second high-profile signing of the week.

English international and hard working midcourter Jade Clarke will be the Tactix' second import for the 2013 trans-Tasman netball season.

The Tactix re-signed English shooter Jo Harten last month and this week Silver Ferns squad member Julianna Naoupu joined the side.

Clarke, 29, is the English captain, but made herself unavailable for the current Quad Series.

She's played for the Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic and the Northern Mystics and is a strong replacement for the retired Maree Bowden.

"We knew we needed someone with a huge work ethic and huge experience being without the likes of Maree," Tactix coach Leigh Gibbs said.

"She doesn't quite have the wing attack aspect to her game that Maree did but we really like her and think she can bring a lot to our team."

Clarke is arguably strongest at wing defence but Gibbs said the Tactix would use the 83-test veteran as a centre as well.

She has seen plenty of Clarke and was pleased the side had managed to recruit well, especially give then retirements of stalwarts Bowden and Anna Galvan.

"I remember first seeing [Clarke] in the early 2000s when I was with the Silver Ferns and we played England. She was this up and coming player back then and she's developed into a really good netballer.

"She's been out here before and knows what to expect, she knows about the travel and that experience will be crucial to us."

With Silver Fern trialist Keshia Grant in the midcourt, Clarke and a strong shooting end, the Tactix side is taking shape well.

Harten and Naoupu will be joined by Silver Fern Anna Thompson and New Zealand under-21 shooter Sophia Fenwick.

Thompson has continued her transition to the midcourt and her feeding came on in leaps and bounds in the domestic provincial competition.

A Clarke-Grant-Thompson midcourt would be competitive although another feeding option will be needed, especially as Kiley Hikawai will not be available next year because of the impending birth of her second child.

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