Popular captain joins centurions club
Becoming just the seventh Silver Fern to play 100 Tests has revealed the true contribution agile defender Katrina Grant has made to Netball in New Zealand.
It has been a heady 18 months for the popular Grant, the highlights coming thick and fast following her elevation to the Silver Ferns captaincy last year and reaching another significant milestone with her 100th Test Cap in the Taini Jamison Trophy decider against the England Roses in Hamilton last night.
Grant is in rare company after joining Lesley Rumball, Irene van Dyk, Laura Langman, Maria Tutaia, Leana de Bruin and Casey Kopua as centurions, her longevity built on a keen competitive edge, an exacting work ethic and a strong belief in the Silver Ferns legacy.
Helping guide a new generation of Silver Ferns in the infancy of their careers, Grant has grown with the game, her leadership following suit as exemplified in the dramatic winning finale against England. It was a case of team first, personal milestones second in a momentum-swinging game, the Taini Jamison Trophy adding to the recent Quad Series win.
“That was huge for us,’’ she said. “It’s the best England side I’ve ever played against. The girls did such an amazing job. We’ve been under a lot of pressure after two losses to England, we learnt a lot from those losses to be able to win tonight. So far, the trophy cabinet’s full and we really like that.’’
A regular in the Silver Ferns since making her debut as a 21-year-old in 2008, Grant often had to battle for court time during an era when there was an abundance of defensive talent but with perseverance the captaincy, form and leadership have gone hand-in-hand.
“I’ve grown hugely as a player and as a person…..all the mistakes and all the booboos I’ve made have made me the player I am today. These bunch of girls make you who you are and that’s why you play and why you enjoy it so much,’’ she said.
“Over the last few years we’ve met a lot of past Silver Ferns and really looked into the history of what it means….the people who have gone before us and what they’ve done. That’s huge and I really respect it all. It is the reason why we’re here and why we wear the Black Dress, so for me, the history and legacy is a biggie and we want to add to that.’’