With the Netball Quad Series commencing this weekend in London, The Inner Sanctum is previewing players to watch out for from each of the four sides in the lead up to the opening game.
The New Zealand Silver Ferns are Australia’s greatest rivals. The five-time Netball World Cup and two-time Commonwealth Games champions will be going into the Quad Series hoping to repeat their heroics against Australia in the Constellation Cup in 2021.
The 30-year-old became New Zealand’s 28th captain last year and will be looking to lead her side to more glory. The midcourter missed out on the 2018 Commonwealth Games, however returned in 2019 to help the Silver Ferns win the World Cup.
Crampton possess a brilliant all-round skillset that makes her a great asset to the New Zealand midcourt, whether it be playing as centre or wing attack. She made her international debut in 2016 and has gone on to earn 48 caps for the Silver Ferns.
She is currently playing for the Northern Stars in the ANZ Premiership in New Zealand. One of the strengths of the Stars midcourter is her great speed up and down the court. Crampton has brilliant vision as well being able to make great passes into the circle to set up her teammates.
The New Zealand captain has been a consistent performer for a number of years now and was rewarded for her efforts in 2016 when she won the New Zealand ANZ Championship Player of the Year. Since then she has continued to be a reliable performer and brings plenty of experience to her side.
The 19-year-old has risen to prominence as one of the up and coming shooters in the ANZ Championship. The Northern Mystics shooter stands at 193cm, and is able tower over opponents.
Nweke was given her Silver Ferns debut in September last year after a brilliant season in 2021. The Mystics shooter is a lethal finisher, scoring 852 goals from her 951 attempts last season.
Just two years after joining the Mystics, Nweke broke the ANZ Premiership scoring record in 2021. Born in New Zealand to Nigerian parents, she is the Silver Ferns’ first ever player of African origin.
An exciting talent, she possesses a brilliant athletic ability and has the potential to become one of the most dominant shooters in netball with plenty of years ahead of her in her career. The Quad Series will be seen as a major opportunity for her to lock-in a spot for the upcoming Commonwealth games.
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Kayla Johnson is making her return to the Silver Ferns after giving birth in 2020. The versatile defender has spent time playing in both Australia and New Zealand and recently signed a deal to re-join the Northern Stars in the ANZ Premiership for 2022.
The 29-year-old has been unfortunate with injury throughout her career, with her perennial injury struggles forcing her to miss out on the vast majority of New Zealand’s success in both the Commonwealth Games and World Cup.
Johnson has spent the majority of her career playing in New Zealand with a brief spell in Australia, where she played for the NSW Swifts and South Coast Blaze. The defender who can also play midcourt got her career off to a flyer when she won the ANZ Championship Best Young Player award in 2011.
Since then she has gone on to be one of the more reliable, versatile defenders who isn’t limited to just the one role. When fit, Johnson can provide valuable experience to a New Zealand side boasting a range of young and inexperienced talents.
The 31-year-old has been a stalwart of the Silver Ferns side since her debut in 2013. Saunders has made 83 appearances in the black dress, with her experience helping New Zealand to win the 2019 Netball World Cup.
Her Silver Ferns career seemed all but up in 2018 after a poor showing from New Zealand, failing to medal for the first time. As a result Saunders, was left out of the squad for over a year.
However her commitment and determination earnt her a recall in 2019 for the World Cup, and she hasn’t looked back since. The Silver Ferns centre is known for her high energy levels and incredible stamina, providing an impact similar to having an extra player on the court.
Her form in the last 12 months has been exceptional and will look to continue that in a big two years ahead for netball, with both the Commonwealth Games and Netball World Cup in the near future.
In 2021 Saunders took on the role as captain of the Southern Steel in the ANZ Premiership. Whether in a starting role or coming off the bench, Saunders’ impact is felt across the entirety of the Silver Ferns squad
Making her professional debut as a replacement player for the Pulse in 2017, Metuarau made on instant impact for her side and has not looked back since. The goal attack has continued to improve on her game since then and made her Silver Ferns debut in 2021.
She played the full 60 minutes on debut and seemed unfazed by the challenge of facing far more experienced defenders. However, her rise hasn’t been without adversity, being dropped from the Silver Ferns development side and spending a large portion of the 2020 season on the bench at domestic level.
Her 2021 season was her breakout year in many ways. Spending the campaign playing for the Southern Steel, she asserted herself as the starting goal attack and allowed her game to thrive. Whilst still being young and inexperienced at international level, she has a poise about her play that sets her apart.
Metuarau will be hoping for a great Quad Series as she looks to lock-in a spot at this year’s Commonwealth games.
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