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Kersten becomes Silver Fern number 168

Claire Kersten is still pinching herself following a late call-up for the Second Test of the Taini Jamison Trophy in Napier.

She becomes only the 168th player to wear the Black Dress and represent the Silver Ferns in the international Netball arena.

“Growing up playing for the Silver Ferns is the dream for a lot of young girls and you go through a lot of ups and downs along the way,” Kersten said.

“Sometimes you feel like it’s out of reach and certainly things over the last year or so have changed quite dramatically for me, in terms of Netball and it’s pretty exciting for me to be here at the moment.”

GET TICKETS – THE DECIDER, Claudelands Arena, Hamilton, Wednesday night.

Coming on in the third quarter, the 28-year-old Newlands College secondary school teacher was in her element and in the thick of action in a torrid and tense showdown.

“I definitely had no idea this opportunity would come so quickly,” she said.

“People tell you to make sure you keep training, keep on top of things and make sure that you’re ready but you never think it’s going to happen like it has.

“I wasn’t expecting it at all. I was at work [on Friday] and she [Janine] asked if I wanted to come up to Napier and train alongside the group and it just developed from that.

“A week ago, I was playing in our Club final (for Wellington East), so this was a bit of a stark contrast.”

Having spent her early years in Hawke’s Bay, it was fitting for Kersten that her international debut took place in the province and extra special that her parents were on hand for the occasion.

“You could definitely feel a step up in terms of intensity and now afterwards, there’s mixed emotions,” Kersten said.

“It’s exciting to get out there, it’s disappointing not to get a win and left lots of things to think about and work on going forward. It has absolutely whetted my appetite for more.”

The Silver Ferns will face the England Roses in a series decider for the Taini Jamison Trophy on Wednesday 13 September at Claudelands Arena, Hamilton – GET TICKETS

Can’t make it to the game? Catch all the action live on SKY Sport and Radio Sport NZ from 7.30pm, or delayed on Prime from 10.35pm.