Squad place for netballer

STU PIDDINGTON
Last updated 05:00 09/02/2013

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Former Craighead netballer and Wellington representative Nicola Mackle has been named in the Netball New Zealand under-21 team World Youth Championships in Scotland, in August.

NNZ announced the 12 players after putting the wider squad through their paces at a 10-day camp in Auckland at the end of January.

The 20-year-old Mackle was one of five midcourt players named in the squad, having played for the team against Australia last year.

Mackle was "pretty rapt" and excited to have made the team.

"I was nervous as you didn't have a clue after a pretty intense camp.

"It's been hard work but I guess the hard work starts again now."

A shooter mainly for Craighead she made her transition to the midcourt in her first year at university in Wellington, where she is majoring in marketing and accounting.

A talented high jumper, she gave athletics away to concentrate on netball and it has paid off.

Coach Janine Southby said after three-and-a-half years of planning and development, the emerging talent selectors made the tough decision on the final team of 12

"The final make-up of this team is one of experience with an element of surprise.

"Having a player with the skill and ability of Silver Fern Kayla Cullen is going to strengthen our midcourt, but I am extremely excited for young emerging talent development squad member Erikana Pedersen, who showed her determination and desire to make the team despite not being in the original under 21 wider squad."

Southby said the bulk of the players are in the ANZ Championship team framework in 2013, proof of their calibre and the hardwork undertaken to secure themselves the opportunity to represent their country.

Historically, many players selected for the New Zealand World Youth Championships team have gone on to become Silver Ferns.

Current Silver Ferns Casey Kopua (nee Williams), Maria Tutaia, Laura Langman, Katrina Grant, Grace Rasmussen and Anna Thompson were all part of the 2005 World Youth Championship gold medal winning team.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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