12 Dec 2018

Netball: Never too old to play for the Silver Ferns

2:20 pm on 12 December 2018
Head coach Noeline Taurua directing the Silver Ferns in between quarters

Head coach Noeline Taurua directing the Silver Ferns in between quarters Photo: © Patrick Hamilton / Photosport. All Rights Reserved

Age is no barrier to making the Silver Ferns and coach Noeline Taurua says the possibility of veteran Temepara Bailey returning to international netball is "fantastic".

The wider New Zealand squad are in camp this week preparing for the Quad Series in England next month, a key part of the team's preparation for July's World Cup in the same country.

The 43-year-old midcourter, who is returning to top flight netball next year with the Northern Stars in the ANZ Championship, has indicated she wouldn't rule out a return to the international ranks.

Bailey last played for the Silver Ferns in 2011 but Taurua said if she is good enough she'd be happy to pick her.

"I'm not putting a line through anybody. I don't feel that we can," the Silver Ferns coach said on Wednesday.

"We need everybody on board to raise the standard and to create internal competition and if she puts her name out there or puts herself out there in regard to performance - I don't care if you are ten or a hundred - that's what I am looking for.

Temepara Bailey playing for the Northern Mystics in 2014.

Temepara Bailey playing for the Northern Mystics in 2014. Photo: Photosport

"It'll be good to be able to see her in the ANZ. Obviously she's not involved here [in the camp]. I definitely know what she is like with her past and history and that is massive but like everybody else you have got to be able to do it out on court so the opportunity is there for everyone.

"If you don't make [the squad for the] Quad Series we won't be closing shop and just focus on that 12 thinking they are the ones that are going to go through [to the World Cup].

"We have got to keep everyone on board so to have her in the mix is fantastic."

That desire to keep every player on notice had been emphasised already this week.

Some of the 25 players involved in already out of contention for next month's trip to England to face England, Australia and South Africa because they didn't meet fitness standards.

While she stressed those out of contention were a "very small group", Taurua confirmed not all players remained in the mix after an intense testing session to open the camp on Monday.

"The standard was set in regards to the physical side and there were targets they had to meet. If they didn't meet them they weren't going to be up for selection.

"There are a few with a bit of work to do. However they are still involved in camp and they've got to be able to improve themselves ..... there is nowhere to hide."

That was an assertion backed up by Ferns captain Laura Langman.

The most capped player in Ferns history, the 32-year-old was quick to confirm the camp had already been one of the most intense she had been a part of since making her debut more than 13 years ago.

Langman, though, said the players were thriving under the standards Taurua had set and fired a warning shot to their international netball rivals as preparations ramped up ahead of the World Cup.

"The ruthlessness we are starting to exhibit in training and games is where we need to be.

"It comes down to being consistent and being able to do it when we are under physical and mental fatigue. What we are displaying so far this week, we're right on the money.

"I stand by the words I said at the end of the Constellation Cup (won 3-1 by Australia), we're coming after them and they're Marco and we're Polo."