Experienced netball head Gemma Hazeldine has been named in a new-look Hellers Mainland Beko Squad which features a number of fresh faces.
The former Silver Ferns triallist last played top-level netball in 2016 when she was a member of the Mainland Tactix side in the ANZ Championship before taking time away from the game to start a family.
Hazeldine has predominantly played in the shooting circle but has also been found in the centre role for her Technical club side.
Her inclusion into the 16-strong squad adds to an already experienced line featuring last year’s Mainland Player of the Year, Sophia Fenwick, who is back for her third season in the side, alongside mid-courter Tiana Placid, defender Lily Marshall and shooter Bella James who were all part of the side which finished runner-up in 2017. Former Tactix mid-courter Nicola Mackle has also been named in the squad pending an exemption from Netball New Zealand.
New coach Ronelle van Dongen said she was pleased with the standard at trials and with the number of new players pushing hard for places in the team.
“It was exciting to see the skills, intensity and determination the athletes demonstrated this weekend,” she said. “It allowed us to view the players’ ability to perform under pressure and show their versatility and individual attributes.”
Former New Zealand Secondary Schools shooter Grace Namana has made the move from Rotorua to join Mainland.
Namana, who has been part of the New Zealand high performance programme, was guided by Silvermoon Tactix coach Marianne Delaney-Hoshek at school level and was encouraged to shift south following the success of shooter Ellie Bird, who made a seamless transition into the ANZ Premiership last year.
Former Marlborough Girls’ College netballer Malia Manoa is another newcomer to the side and becomes the first player from Mainland’s “Baby Beko” squad to take the step up to the Beko Netball League.
Baby Beko was established in 2017 to allow talented school players the opportunity to receive extra support, to not only develop their on-court performance but a well-rounded sport/school balance.
Hellers Mainland Beko team open their campaign with a repeat of last year’s Grand Final when they meet the defending champion Central side on May 13 in Porirua.
The Beko Netball League was introduced in 2016 with the aim of developing talent in New Zealand. This year’s final will be played on July 29.
Hellers Mainland Beko 2018 Squad:
Nicola Mackle (subject to NNZ exemption)
Lily Fletcher (subject to fitness)
Jess Shaw (subject to fitness)
Ronelle van Dongen (Head Coach)
Andrea Cousins (Assistant Coach)
Toni Torepe (Manager)