15 Oct 2016

Tutaia back for Silver Ferns

6:17 pm on 15 October 2016

Goal attack Maria Tutaia is likely to make her first Silver Ferns appearance of the season after being named in the squad to take on Australia tonight in Auckland.

Silver Fern Maria Tutaia.

Silver Fern Maria Tutaia. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Tutaia has been out of action for six weeks with a foot injury, ruling her out of the netball Quad Series and Taini Jamison Trophy against Jamaica.

The 102-cap veteran replaces 18-year-old Maia Wilson in the squad of 12 and will vie for a starting berth with Te Paea Selby-Rickit and Ameliaranne Ekenasio.

Shooter Bailey Mes is expected to retain her position after a strong international campaign to date.

"Maria's plan has been followed to the letter at the moment, so she's on track to be out there if we feel that's the best for the team," coach Janine Southby said.

Steel defender Storm Purvis will also sit out the encounter, with veteran Anna Harrison now returned to full fitness.

The 33-year-old Harrison did not train on Friday but will pull on the black dress on Saturday with the aim of nullifying Diamonds star Caitlin Bassett.

"Anna at the back there just makes it that little bit easier for us to get some ball up and tips around the edges where we don't normally get the ball," skipper and defensive partner Katrina Grant said.

Each side has won one Constellation Cup tie, with matches in Auckland and Invercargill remaining.

The Silver Ferns have won the cup just once, in 2012.

SILVER FERNS: Katrina Grant (capt), Laura Langman (vice capt), Gina Crampton, Ameliaranne Ekenasio, Shannon Francois, Anna Harrison, Phoenix Karaka, Bailey Mes, Grace Rasmussen, Te Paea Selby-Rickit, Maria Tutaia, Jane Watson.