Trialists named for Southern Blast
Newly-appointed head coach Lauren Piebenga has named 32-triallists to contest places in the 2019 Southern Blast netball team.
Trials for the Blast will be held on January 26 and 27 in Dunedin. Successful players will then form a 16-strong squad to prepare for the 2019 Beko Netball League which kicks off on March 2.
Piebenga, who coached the team which claimed the inaugural title in 2016, was excited to be back at the helm.
“I think the talent we’ve got both in our zone and coming into our zone in 2019 is really exciting and I’m looking forward to working with this group,” she said.
“We’ve got a lot of experience from the previous seasons which we can build on. Pathways are becoming clearer in New Zealand netball and within our zone and we’re seeing a lot of drive from these players to succeed.”
Piebenga will be supported by former Silver Fern shooter Jo Morrison in a specialist coaching role, while Queenstown’s Paula Kay-Rogers has been appointed team manager for the campaign.
“Jo obviously brings experience as a player and as a coach working in the development space so it’s great to have her on board,” she said.
The 23 players initially selected in an off-season training squad will be joined by another nine invited players at trials.
“It does create good competition for places and that’s exactly what we want to achieve,” Piebenga said.
“We’re hoping they’ll come in with a good fitness base and level of strength work.”
Triallists are shooters Georgia Heffernan, Holly Munro, Kiana Pelasio, Hannah Riddle-Pelchen, Bridie Burns, Sarah Boomer, Katherine Morris, midcourters Jess Allan, Laura Moffatt, Meg Sycamore, Zoey Flockton, Kate Hartley, Sophie Erwood, Lauren Pickett, Julia Law, Grace Heardman and defenders Taneisha Fifita, Tarryn Dickson, Laura Overton, Georgia Cassidy, Alana Vison, Lisa Lin.
Additional players invited are shooters Olivia Bates, Isabella Masani and Kelly Lawrence, midcourters Killarney Morley and Amy du Plessis and defenders Renaye Flockton, Mariah Nelson, Annabel Angland and Kaya Laban. Former Steel midcourter Dani Gray has also been asked to attend subject to fitness testing as she recovers from an ACL injury sustained in May.