Kersten ready to give Silver Ferns her best shot
Attending Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse training 12 hours earlier, midcourter Claire Kersten was Auckland-bound early this morning to join the Silver Ferns for next week’s Taini Jamison Trophy netball series.
On the fringe of Silver Ferns selection following a stellar 2017 domestic season, the rock-solid Kersten received a similar call-up last year, going on to make her debut against England in the corresponding series.
The 28-year-old Newlands College teacher joins Northern Stars shooter Maia Wilson as injury cover for next week’s series against the Malawi Queens, Jamaica Sunshine Girls and Fiji Pearls.
Kersten has been added as cover for wing defence Kayla Cullen who has been ruled out of the series with a knee injury. Wilson’s inclusion comes as a result of shooters Ameliaranne Ekenasio and vice-captain Maria Folau having to be managed through the four-day series with minor injury concerns.
``This is just a really exciting opportunity and another chance to get out there and play at this level,’’ Kersten said. ``I had one go last year….so again, it’s just really exciting and I’m looking forward to getting up to Auckland and into the environment.’’
Flying to Auckland with Pulse team-mates Ekenasio and captain Katrina Grant had helped settle the nerves and Kersten felt in good nick with plenty of pre-season conditioning under her belt.
As part of the New Zealand Development squad, who train with the Silver Ferns at select camps throughout the year, she is familiar with the set-up.
``We’ve been training pretty hard at the Pulse for the last six weeks or so and have obviously been playing lots of netball, so it’s not like I’m starting from scratch,’’ she said. ``It’s more about just slotting into their systems reasonably quickly.
``I know a lot of the team really well and it will definitely be a big help having Ameliaranne and Katrina there as well.
``You take things as they come, I’m really excited to have another shot and get out there. You’ve just got to go out there and try and prove yourself, really.’’
Kersten is expecting a challenging series with players from Jamaica and Malawi, in particular, getting more exposure in netball leagues around their world and proving their growing credentials.
``The Commonwealth Games are only a couple of weeks away and the Taini Jamison is a perfect lead-up in of having a series of games with tight turnarounds and it’s really an important preparation for the Silver Ferns,’’ she said.
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