Under newly-appointed coach Dale Atkinson, three trials were held in Rarotonga, Brisbane and Auckland with the best 15 players selected to train on.
A team of 12 will be announced after a planned camp in New Zealand in May. That team will represent the country at the Pacific Games in June.
“It has been an extremely busy time coordinating three trials in three countries,” says Atkinson.
She says she is excited about the natural flair and skill exhibited by Cook Islands players.
“Having said that, the players will need to work on their fitness and strength and conditioning,” says Atkinson.
“We want to be competitive and represent the Cook Islands proudly.”
The 15-member squad named yesterday includes from Australia trials Ana Salanoa (GS/GK), Jasmin Forbes-James (C/WA), Courtney Capper (GA/GS), Moana Glassie (WA/GA); from New Zealand trials Rochelle Teiri (WD/C), Ashleigh Iro (WD/GD), Chloe Benedito (GS/GA/WA), Grace Glassie (GA/GS), Tehani Buchanan (GD/GK), Ernestina Bonsu-Maru (WA/WD); from Rarotonga trials Natalia Short (GK/GD), Luciana Matenga (GD/GK), Adoniah Lewis (C/WA), Amelia Vainetuua (GS/GK) and Mariana Ngaputa (GD/GK).
Noting that the youngest member in the squad, Chloe Benedito is just 15, Netball Cook Islands president Patsy Hockin says coach Dale Atkinson’s goal is to develop players as better skilled and talented all-rounded athletes who are independent thinkers.
“We couldn’t ask for better for our young women,” says Hockin.
This is shaping up to be a hugely important building year for the new squad team.
Following the 2015 Pacific Games in Port Moresby in July is the Pacific Netball Series in June 2016, also in PNG.
In 2017 Netball Cook Islands is committed to sending a team to the World Youth Netball Cup in Botswana.
Also announced yesterday was the appointment of team manager Mandy Souchon from Paeroa.
One of five candidates, Mandy was the only one able to demonstrate recent team management experience, says Netball Cook Islands.
The NCI board would like to acknowledge all those who applied for the position of team manager.
“We are grateful that a couple of the candidates are keen to help. Mandy is keen to help those interested in gaining skills required for future selection for this role.”