Silver Ferns without Jane Watson for rest of netball year after ankle cleanse

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Outstanding Silver Ferns defenseman Jane Watson will not be returning to the pitch this year after undergoing a cleanse and ankle stabilization on Monday.

Watson, arguably the best defenseman in netball in the world, was named to the 17-man Silver Ferns 2021-22 national team on Tuesday, but will not play again this year.

Losing Watson for the Constellation Cup four-game series against Australia, which begins October 13 in Brisbane, is a blow to the Ferns’ hopes of defending the title. Netball New Zealand is also hoping for a home series of the Taini Jamison Trophy against England, in which Watson would not appear.

The characteristics of the 2021-22 Ferns National Team included first-time calls for the shot on goal from Mystics Grace Nweke, the Steel duo, attacking goal Tiana Metuarau and mid-shorts Kate Heffernan, and the goal attack from Stars Jamie Hume.

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The attack of mystical wing Peta Toeava was also recalled after playing his only test against England in 2019.

Nweke, 19, Auckland-born and Nigerian-born, was the ANZ Premiership’s first goalscorer, accumulating 852 goals in 951 attempts at 90 percent. She was a key figure on the title-winning Mystics team that edged the Tactix 61-59 in Sunday’s grand final.

Tactix captain Jane Watson looks to pass in the ANZ Premiership Grand Final against the Mystics.

Andrew Cornaga / Photosport

Tactix captain Jane Watson looks to pass in the ANZ Premiership Grand Final against the Mystics.

Watson was the Tactix captain in the decision maker, then underwent a left ankle wash in Christchurch on Monday.

She will be in a cast for the next two weeks and will not be available for the remainder of 2021 as she recovers and returns.

Silver Ferns coach Dame Noeline Taurua said the surgery was long overdue and now is the perfect opportunity for Watson to take a break.

With two flagship tournaments approaching, the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham in July, followed by the 2023 Netball World Cup in Cape Town, the Ferns wanted Watson to be at his best physically for those.

Mystics Grace Nweke's shot on goal and Tactix's goal keep Jane Watson competing for the ball in Sunday's grand final.

Hannah Peters / Getty Images

Mystics Grace Nweke’s shot on goal and Tactix’s goal keep Jane Watson competing for the ball in Sunday’s grand final.

“We’ve had this on the cards for a little while, for a few months now, so we were clearly clear on what was to happen for her and went through all the scenarios for her to control and direct this for what is the best scenario.” for her now, ”Taurua said Things.

“Not only that. I also think having that mental break is always a good thing, and having some life and taking back the house.”

Watson had been troubled by the ankle problem for the past 18 months, but was able to get by.

His unavailability means the Ferns would rely heavily on Karin Burger, Sulu Fitzpatrick and Kelly Jury, the other three defenders named to the national team, against Australia.

Jane Watson, second from left, celebrates the Silver Ferns' Constellation Cup series victory over Australia in March.

Peter Meecham / Getty Images

Jane Watson, second from left, celebrates the Silver Ferns’ Constellation Cup series victory over Australia in March.

The Ferns could potentially call on several returning players outside of the national team against Australia, including Phoenix Karaka and Kayla Johnson, née Cullen.

Karaka, a member of the 2019 Ferns World Cup winning squad, first became a mother late last year, but has found her way training with the Mystics and joining their squad. .

Johnson, the wife of Kiwi rugby league player Shaun Johnson, is set to return for the ANZ 2022 Premiership after also becoming a mother for the first time. She was in Sydney with her husband, but Taurua said she was trying to return to New Zealand and secure a place in managed isolation.

Taurua has long said there is no division between the Silver Ferns’ national and development teams. If the development team players have impressed in their camps and outdo the national team players, they could be in the mix for the Constellation Cup.

Mystics captain Sulu Fitzpatrick, left, will be a crucial figure for the Silver Ferns in the Constellation Cup without Jane Watson.

Hannah Peters / Getty Images

Mystics captain Sulu Fitzpatrick, left, will be a crucial figure for the Silver Ferns in the Constellation Cup without Jane Watson.

This means defenders of the Georgia Tong development team, Kate Burley and Oceane Maihi could potentially be in contention.

“I don’t take my eyes off anyone. For everyone, whether they’re named to the Silver Ferns or to the development team, they have one foot in the door and I think we’ve proven in previous selections that we’re not afraid to take anyone in these. two teams. , if they’re ready and raise your hand.

Ferns Nweke, Metuarau, Hume and Heffernan for the first time had all earned their selection following dominant seasons in the ANZ Premiership.

The penalty shootout of mystics Grace Nweke is set to make its debut for the Silver Ferns after a formidable ANZ Premiership season.

Andrew Cornaga / Photosport

The penalty shootout of mystics Grace Nweke is set to make its debut for the Silver Ferns after a formidable ANZ Premiership season.

Metuarau’s mother, Wai Taumaunu, was captain and coach of the Silver Ferns. Heffernan’s mother, Annette, won nine caps for the Ferns as a defenseman between 1985-90. His aunt Maxine Blomquist was also a fern, playing 31 tests.

Taurua was delighted for all four players, especially Nweke, who was one of five players sent home after a Ferns training camp in January after failing to meet fitness criteria.

“I’m actually delighted with where she was to where she is now, with the work she has done physically, not only with her motor, but also in the gym.

“When you look at her you can see her ability to be able to take the ball under two players while still being able to stand up. She has made tremendous progress.

AT A GLANCE:

2021-22 Silver Ferns National Team: Shooters: Améliaranne Ekenasio (maternity leave), Jamie Hume, Tiana Metuarau, Grace Nweke, Te Paea Selby-Rickit, Maia Wilson; Environment : Gina Crampton, Maddy Gordon, Kate Heffernan, Claire Kersten, Shannon Saunders, Peta Toeava, Sam Winders; Defenders: Karin Burger, Sulu Fitzpatrick, Kelly Jury, Jane Watson.

Silver Ferns Development Team: Kate Burley, Monica Falkner, Paris Lokotui, Oceane Maihi, Kimiora Poi, Mila Reuelu-Buchanan, Whitney Souness, Georgia Tong, Filda Vui.

* Several players have not been considered for selection, but will continue to work with the staff at Silver Ferns in the months to come. These players include: Michaela Sokolich-Beatson (rehabilitation of her Achilles), Bailey Mes (rehabilitation of her knee), Phoenix Karaka and Katrina Rore (maternity leave), as well as Kayla Johnson.


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