Netball South has named a talented squad of players to contest the national Beko Netball League this season.
Head coach Georgie Salter finalised her team of 12 players following trials in Dunedin on Saturday, along with an additional four squad members.
Sophie Erwood, Dani Gray and Zoey Flockton (Dunedin) return from last year’s title-winning team and are joined by Aliyah Dunn* and Ngawai Eyles (Invercargill), Georgia and Kate Heffernan*, Olivia Bates, Tarryn Dickson (Dunedin), Ella Brown, Ashleigh Smith (Eastern) and Taneisha Fifita* (North Otago).
The wider squad members are Sarah Boomer, Laura Moffatt, Lucy Heenan and Kiana Pelasio, (all Dunedin).
The South team will also be able to enlist the services of Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel young guns Abbey Erwood, Jamie Hume and Jennifer O’Connell as their ANZ Premiership schedule allows.
Salter was satisfied with the team’s first outing, against the Steel in Oamaru on Sunday.
“It’s early days but it’s exciting to be coaching them because you can see the potential there,” she said.
“While we know the Steel were in pre-season mode trying new things and weren’t the hardened disciplined team they will be, our girls were up to the task and I’m really pleased with the progress shown.
“It was a good indicator for me – there’s a lot to work on but we certainly have some real home-grown talent there.”
The South team launches its 2017 campaign on March 25 when it faces the Mainland team in Christchurch. The league will feature 10 round robin games for each team before the top two earn a place in the grand final in Auckland onJune 18.
South will host five games on home turf in 2017:
South v Waikato/Bay of Plenty April 8 in Gore
South v Central April 29 in Invercargill
South v Mainland May 7 in Dunedin
South v Northern 2 May 28 in Invercargill
South v Northern June 11 in Dunedin
NOTE: * Secondary school students Aliyah Dunn, Taneisha Fifita and Georgia and Kate Heffernan are all subject to approval from Netball New Zealand.