6 Mar 2020

Champion Silver Ferns on show in new domestic season

7:25 am on 6 March 2020

Netball fans can watch the world champions playing in 14 different centres around the country when the ANZ Premiership returns this month.

Te Huinga Reo Selby-Rickit, Phoenix Karaka, Katrina Rore, Grace Kara, Samantha Winders and Jane Watson, during the ANZ Premiership netball launch.

ANZ Premiership captains from left Te Huinga Reo Selby-Rickit (Steel), Phoenix Karaka (Mystics), Katrina Rore (Pulse), Grace Kara (Stars), Samantha Winders (Magic) and Jane Watson (Tactix) Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Five out of the six teams in New Zealand's domestic netball competition have Silver Ferns in their sides and with a lot of player movement in the off season, and imports from Trinidad and Tobago, it may not be the usual suspects taking the title in 2020.

Silver Fern Katrina Rore has played more domestic netball than any other player in the ANZ Premiership.

The Pulse captain starts the season on 188 games played across the various incarnations of the tournament.

At 32 Rore is the oldest player in the competition and just how much longer she will make herself available for international netball is yet to be determined.

But as the new season approaches the world champion said she returned season after season for the Pulse for the "sense of accomplishment and love for the game".

2019 was third time lucky for the Pulse as they clinched the title.

However, Rore expected the other five teams to have their eyes on the prize in what she thinks will be a physical contest.

"In the preseason you saw it was fierce the whole time, there was a lot of body on body, people are contesting hard and wanting to contest hard with each, everyone wants to win and pretty much doing they can to win which I think is making the game a great spectacle," Rore said.

New mum Grace Kara admitted she is not a good watcher of netball, but she did see plenty she liked as the Northern Stars made the final last season.

Kara is back on court for the Stars in 2020 after missing last season to have her son.

She returns to her role as captain and hoped to build on the team's first appearance in the grand final.

"Obviously the girls making the grand final, and I watched all those games leading up to it, it was really exciting and I know that has put us in good stead for this year," Kara said.

"But I also know we need to do the hard work, which we have done pre-season wise, and we can't rely on that result to get us there again."

Once a powerhouse of New Zealand netball, the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic have not had the same success since the competition changed in 2017 .

For captain Sam Winders (nee Sinclair) there is value in remembering the good times.

"Previously the Magic was the only side to never miss out on the finals series so we have that history behind us and that is something we've actually gone back to a bit this year, our roots, who we are, where we come from, who we represent, what sort of game we want to play and thinking more about us rather than the opposition.

"It's been really nice to focus on what we are doing and build on the strengths of individuals in our team and finding a way to make those strengths really cohesive so that as a unit we are really strong."

Winders has anchored the Silver Ferns midcourt and she expects to see a style similar to her own when the ANZ Premiership starts.

"There's a focus a big focus on the powerful explosive game and I think we'll see that in a lot of players, so it is about being able to switch on to do something really powerful and then cruise when you need to but be explosive when it counts.

"I think that kind of game play is quite specific to New Zealand in some ways because that's the kind of people that we build - really powerful explosive people and it's in our roots."

Now that she is based back in New Zealand, Silver Ferns coach Dame Noeline Taurua will be a very interested spectator this season and she said more needed to be done to keep fans engaged in the competition.

"I feel that the events is an area that can be improved in regards to entertainment factor, what happens prior to games and what's happening when people are sitting on their seats, so we've got to look at our game in the entirety if we want to attract people to not only watch the game but also play it," Taurua said.

The ANZ Premiership will be played Sundays and Mondays from 15 March until mid-July.