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Maddy Gordon savours return to Silver Ferns for World Cup

Pulse midcourter Maddy Gordon is back in the Silver Ferns for the Netball World Cup. Photo: PhotoWellington

Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse midcourter Maddy Gordon has been rewarded for a stellar season with a recall to the Silver Ferns for the 2023 Netball World Cup in South Africa during July and August.

Pulse team-mates, defender Kelly Jury, and fellow midcourter Whitney Souness, join Gordon in the 12-strong Silver Ferns team while shooter Tiana Metuarau has been named as one of three travelling reserves.

Jury and Souness have retained their places from the last Silver Ferns campaign, January’s Quad Series, while Gordon, who has been capped six times, makes a return after missing the cut for that event.

``I am super-stoked, I wasn’t really expecting it, so to get that call yesterday was pretty exciting,’’ Gordon said.

``I certainly had a bit of a tear in my eye when Noels (coach Dame Noeline Taurua) called me. I have been able to tell my family and they had a bit of a cry too, so it’s been an emotional, amazing and surreal time.

``It’s great to have my Pulse mates there and personally, just seeing Whitney there and being able to work alongside her again. I’m so happy for her, she’s worked so hard for this, so it’s really cool.’’

Gordon and Souness formed the most consistent and accurate midcourt partnership during this year’s ANZ Premiership while Jury had another dynamic season as the last line of defence. The trio will be making their first appearances at the sport’s pinnacle event.   

The Silver Ferns will be defending the title they won in Liverpool in 2019, the 2023 edition being held in Cape Town from July 28 – August 6. For the first time, teams are also able to take three reserves outside their 12-person squad who can replace a player who has been ruled out by illness or injury. Once an original squad member is replaced however, they cannot return later in the tournament.

“I think the ANZ Premiership has truly delivered this season and enabled myself and the selectors to see our athletes at their best and in all sorts of pressure-filled situations,” Silver Ferns coach Dame Noeline Taurua said.

“It has been one of the closest competitions we’ve ever had, and of a high standard with some extremely tight results, which has provided a strong environment before we step onto netball’s biggest stage. I would like to thank all ANZ Premiership teams for the work they have done to help prepare the athletes and provide a fierce competition.”

Just 51 days out from the start of the world tournament, the Silver Ferns and the three reserve players will come together for three training camps over the next six weeks before heading to Cape Town on July 21.

“I’m excited with this group of athletes we have selected,’’ Taurua said. ``We have stability with experience and players who have specific specialist skillsets. We have versatility with slide options.

``We have worked on our depth over the past two years and provided on court opportunities. Youthful exuberance adds that exciting flavour. We go into these selections with our eyes wide open and with purpose.”

Silver Ferns team:
Karin Burger (Tactix), Gina Crampton (Stars), Ameliaranne Ekenasio (Magic), Maddy Gordon (Pulse), Kate Heffernan (Steel), Kelly Jury (Pulse), Phoenix Karaka (Mystics), Grace Nweke (Mystics), Te Paea Selby-Rickit (Tactix), Whitney Souness (Pulse), Jane Watson (Tactix), Maia Wilson (Stars).

Travelling reserves: Tiana Metuarau, Mila Reuelu-Buchanan, Sulu Fitzpatrick.