27 Oct 2016

Tutaia struggling to get time with fiance

5:50 pm on 27 October 2016

Newly-engaged New Zealand netball star Maria Tutaia admits she and Wallabies beau Israel Folau still face a big conversation about crossing the Tasman for love.

Maria Tutaia and Israel Folau.

Maria Tutaia and Israel Folau. Photo: Instagram

She expects a lot will be decided in the next few months, when their busy sporting schedules allow.

It's been a whirlwind romance - and past week - for the 29-year-old Silver Ferns shooter.

The sporting glamour couple announced their engagement after a reported nine- month relationship on Sunday, before having to part ways for national duties.

Tutaia will captain the Silver Ferns in the Fast5s World Series in Melbourne this weekend while Folau flies out from Sydney on Friday for the Wallabies' six- week northern hemisphere tour.

"The weekend has totally put a lot of things in the air," Tutaia said in Melbourne on Thursday.

"We've spoken about it just briefly, who's going to leave and who's not.

"It's one of the many big conversations or things Izzy and I have to sort out, but we've got a lot going on at the moment so there's lots to decide in the next few months."

With Folau signed on a lucrative 'flexible contract' until 2018 with the Australian Rugby Union and NSW Waratahs, it seems likely Tutaia has a difficult decision ahead about her Silver Ferns future.

Also weighing on her mind is Netball New Zealand's (NNZ) new eligibility ruling which blocks its players from signing with teams in the new Australian domestic league.

Silver Ferns stalwart Laura Langman is now ineligible to play for New Zealand after breaking ranks to sign with the new Sunshine Coast Lightning team.

Tutaia said she and other teammates had planned to come to Australia to play in the new competition but the NNZ ruling changed their minds.

"When they (NNZ) set that rule in stone, it took us by surprise because there was a few of us who wanted to come over and play in the Australian league," Tutaia said.

"Purely my decisions were just for family, but I know for Laura, she absolutely relished the opportunities that she got (with the NSW Swifts in 2016) and good on her for sticking to her guns and really following her heart.

"But you know for me, things are obviously a lot different at the moment, so it's just another one of those conversations that Izzy and I are going to have to have."

New Zealand will attempt to defend their short-form Fast5s netball title in Melbourne this weekend against Australia, England, South Africa, Jamaica and Malawi.