OPINION: With the ANZ Premiership season done and dusted, it's time to turn our focus to July's Netball World Cup. 

On Wednesday, Dame Noeline Taurua will name her squad for Cape Town which will feature 12 players and up to 3 travelling reserves.

The domestic competition has been fierce this year, and you could tell players always had the World Cup in the back of their mind. 

With such a small window between the grand final and the first World Cup camp, the ANZ Premiership has been their trial. 

This has given everyone a fair chance to show their skills and their ability to handle pressure.


New Zealand have plenty of shooters to choose from, but the Silver Ferns need to make sure they take the right mix of holding shooters and goal attacks who can move.

Grace Nweke 

This is obvious. We've seen Nweke grow in confidence in herself and her abilities. She's top goalscorer in ANZ, and after the Constellation Cup and Commonwealth Games, she has so much international experience.

Ameliaranne Ekenasio 

Ekenasio missed the Commonwealth Games, due to poor fitness from the birth of her daughter, but boy, she's put in the work this season. 

Ekenasio brought well-needed experience to the Magic, and the Silver Ferns will need her leadership and wisdom over in Cape Town. Her ability to play both GS and GA will help against a wide range of teams, styles and defenders.

Maia Wilson

After a very consistent season, Wilson deserves the second GS bib. 

She's always been a good option, but this season, Wilson proved her worth under the goal. 

This season, she hasn't played as much GA as we have seen in the past, but Dame Noeline will get her to do that in camps, if she thinks that's needed.

Tiana Metuarau 

Metuarau has shown depth and leadership with the Pulse for a few seasons now. She is quick and despite being shorter than the average defender, she can feed well. 

After working with Amelia Walmsley this year, she's had a whole season of feeding a holding shooter, meaning she'll be great for both Nweke and Wilson. 

Te Paea Shelby-Ricket will also be up for this position and others may prefer her, but Metuarau deserves this opportunity.

Reserve - Amorangi Malesala 

What a breakthrough season she's had. Malesala's shooting and ability to keep calm under pressure won the Stars games.

The extended-time match against the Mystics showed she has the capability to be a Silver Fern and the World Cup would give her that experience. 

Many believe this should be Walmsley, but I think we have plenty of holding shooters at the moment and her time will come.


This was the hardest group to choose from. 

There's a huge selection of midcourters, who all have different strengths. It will come down to the type of combinations Dame Noeline wants to run, rather than who's good and who isn't.

Peta Toeava 

Do I really need to explain myself here? Her connection with Nweke alone should get her into the squad, but she's also quick and is often in many places at once. 

We saw the Silver Ferns lose the Constellation Cup without her last year and I hope Dame Noeline is smart enough not to make that mistake again.

Gina Crampton

She's a classic, she's reliable and just like Ekenasio, she will bring leadership to the group. Crampton had the highest number of feeds in ANZ Premiership, meaning she can get the ball into the circle quickly - which is crucial against sides like Australia. 

She's won a World Cup before and with a rather young group of midcourters, that is crucial.

Kate Heffernan

Despite Southern Steel not winning a game this season, Heffernan never let that affect the way she played. She can cover all three midcourt positions and is very fit. 

She had the most intercepts of any midcourter this ANZ season, showing she can attack and defend.

Maddy Gordon

Gordon is one of the fittest players in the Silver Ferns mix at the moment. She makes any position she plays come alive and can be just as good on defence. 

She's been on the cusp of the Silver Ferns squad for a while now, but I think Dame Noeline needs to give her a shot.

Reserve - Whitney Souness 

She works great with Gordon and moving into WA has really helped her game. She has also been sitting on the cusp, but I think she deserves a shot.


I think the defence end will be easy to pick, with a few standout players.

Karin Burger 

Burger has had one of her best seasons this year, playing with confidence and style at GD. 

Despite not being the tallest of defenders, her jump and energy is incredible. She is also very versatile, able to play WD as well, and Dame Noeline could put her there at any time. 

She also had the most intercepts this season with 39.

Jane Watson

When you have Burger, you have to have Watson. Their connection is building every season and seeing them play together is magnificent. 

Watson also has plenty of international experience and would add great depth to the squad.

The only reason she might not be included is a leg injury suffered in round nine. That was due to loading, which may make Dame Noeline hesitant to take her.

Kelly Jury

One of the most impressive players in the ANZ Premiership. 

She has the greatest number of deflections, along with rebounds. She often gets called for contact, so Dame Noeline will hope she keeps that under control, but that won't stop her from being named.

Phoenix Karaka 

Another wise head who is consistent. She's also played a lot against the Australian and English shooters, so will know what she needs to do.

Karaka is great at getting rebounds and can also pick up any loose ball.

Reserve - Michaela Sokolich-Beatson 

After being sidelined due to injury in recent seasons, I had honestly forgotten what she could bring to the table, but boy, she has reminded us all. 

She makes that WD bib come to life, which can be hard to do. 

She is rather tough and physical, and despite this being seen as a bad thing, it will be needed at the World Cup.

Natasha Payne is a Newshub Sport reporter

2023-06-05T18:21:15Z dg43tfdfdgfd