29 Aug 2015

Mystics snare 2m Tall Ferns shooter

11:51 am on 29 August 2015

The Northern Mystics netballers have finalised their 2016 ANZ Championship squad with two new players, including two-metre Tall Ferns basketballer Megan Craig.

Megan Craig. FIBA Oceania Basketball Championships, New Zealand Tall Ferns v Australian Opals, NSEC, Auckland. New Zealand. Wednesday 14 August 2013. Photo: Andrew Cornaga / www.photosport.co.nz

Megan Craig on Tall Ferns duty Photo: Photosport

New Zealand basketball international Craig has signed as a shooter, while Fa'amu Ioane has been added to the midcourt.

Neither have played in the ANZ Championship.

Mystics coach Debbie Fuller looked at the player market from many angles when recruiting and said that Craig especially was an interesting addition - who at 2.03 metres (six feet eight inches) and with a 2.1-metre wing span (six foot 11 inches) will surely prove hard to defend under the net.

Craig from the Otaika Valley outside of Whangarei played netball as a goal shoot or goal keep throughout Kamo High School before taking up a basketball scholarship at Albany State University in New York.

The 22-year-old returned to New Zealand this year after four years studying business and communications. She has represented the Tall Ferns since 2013.

"Megan has been signed as a shooter," Fuller said. "Coming into such a fierce competition, from a different code, of course there is an element of risk involved. But both Megan and the... Mystics are committed to giving it everything. There are big challenges there for everyone, including us coaches to get the process right. But I admire Megan's willingness to give it a go."

Fuller said that Craig's initial role will be to learn from Silver Ferns goal attack Maria Tutaia and fellow goal shoot Cathrine Latu, both of whom have played more than 100 ANZ Championship games.

Craig's move into netball isn't an end to her national basketball career. The Tall Ferns coaches Kennedy Kereama and Aik Ho will continue to work with her as she manages playing both domestic netball and international basketball.

"I'm very happy, and very lucky, that Debbie and Kennedy have worked together to make this happen," said Craig, who is a second cousin of Tall Blacks youngster Tai Wynyard. "And while I haven't been in New Zealand a lot for the last few years, Mum is a huge Mystics fan and has kept me in the loop with the team."

The 19-year-old Ioane, a former national schools representative from Avondale College, impressed during off-season trials.

The Mystics squad for 2016 contains seven current or former international netballers, including three - Tutaia, Kayla Cullen and Serena Guthrie - who played in the Netball World Cup.

Nothern Mystics squad:

Megan Craig

Kayla Cullen

Temalisi Fakahokotau

Holly Fowler

Serena Guthrie (import player)

Anna Harrison

Fa'amu Ioane

Cathrine Latu

Nadia Loveday

Michaela Sokolich-Beatson

Sulu Tone-Fitzpatrick

Maria Tutaia