Australian netballer Peta Scholz is making some major sacrifices to play for the Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic next year, but she couldn't be happier.
It was yesterday confirmed the Magic had signed Scholz after Netball NZ decided the side's 2009 import, Frances Solia, was no longer considered an import.
That allowed Scholz to be picked up as the team's import for next season's ANZ Championship. "I'm really excited about it, my whole family is," Scholz said yesterday from her Adelaide home. The move in January means packing up daughters Matilda and Poppy, and husband David and relocating to Mt Maunganui.
It meant taking leave from her full-time position as a police officer and David taking leave from his teaching position, but the chance to return to top-level netball was too good to miss, Scholz said.
The Magic lost Leana de Bruin, Joline Henry and Maria Tutaia from this year's side, so Scholz' 54-test experience as mainly wing defence will be more than welcome to coach Noeline Taurua.
Scholz, 33, played 11 years of Commonwealth Bank Trophy netball in Australia and played for the national side, 1999-2004.
She said while she was fit and up to speed for the World 7 team – where she was the composite side's standout – she expected more of herself for the ANZ Championship with a full pre-season behind her. One of the issues for Scholz will be getting used to the New Zealand style of play, but she is confident of getting up to speed quickly.
"The main difference I can see is the defensive side of it. New Zealand play a lot of zone defence which I admit I'm not used to, but I'm happy to learn." Her insight into the Australian style should also prove a bonus for the Magic.
"Hopefully I can help out with a few game plans here and there."
Scholz got the bug again after the August World 7 series, but no agreement could be made with the Adelaide Thunderbirds. So when her World 7 team-mate and Magic midcourter Solia suggested she join the Magic, Scholz was back in the fold.
She's signed up for just one year but, depending on the future of the competition, how the team go and how her young family enjoy New Zealand, she said there was no reason she would not stay on longer.
2010 Magic squad (one to be added): Jodi Brown, Laura Langman, Tanya Lund, Peta Scholz, Eli Shadrock, Frances Solia, Jodi Tod, Jess Tuki, Irene van Dyk, Kahurangi Waititi, Casey Williams.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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