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Netball team finalised for Nations Cup

Monday October 09, 2017 Written by Published in Netball
Anania Piri, Luciana Nicholas, Phillipa Smith (non-travelling reserve) and Daimzel Rongokea have made the national netball team for the Nations Cup in Singapore in December. 17100661 Anania Piri, Luciana Nicholas, Phillipa Smith (non-travelling reserve) and Daimzel Rongokea have made the national netball team for the Nations Cup in Singapore in December. 17100661

National netball coach Dale Atkinson has finalised the Black Pearls team, which includes five Rarotonga-based players, for the Nations Cup to be held in Singapore in December.

 

Veteran Luciana Nicholas, Alannah Smith, Anania Piri, Daimzel Rongokea and Marjorie (Mati) Toru have made the cut alongside five New Zealand-based and two players from Australia in the 12-member squad.

Tupapa Maraerenga centre Phillipa Smith was also included in the team as a non-travelling reserve.

The team was finalised following the trials camp held in New Zealand last month.

Young Rongokea is excited to be part of the team and is looking forward to making her debut for the senior team.

The 16-year-old Arorangi lass was the only Rarotonga-based player that made the national under-21 team to the World Youth Netball Championship in August.

“I’m looking forward to the experience playing with the senior players in this upcoming tournament.

“The trial was 10 times harder than the U21 training and I’m happy to have surpassed the expectations and included in the national team.”

Rongokea said the local-based players were given programme to follow until their final training camp in New Zealand next month.

In a statement, the Netball Cook Islands board said the players would now be concentrating on their fitness, and strength and conditioning, in the build up to the Nations Cup.

A final camp to be held in November would solidify the team game plan and strategies, the board said.

“The Nations Cup is an important stepping stone in getting back our INF (International Netball Federation) ranking, which was lost in part due to the focus on our successful U21 World Youth Cup campaign,” the statement said.

“The team will depart on November 30, and during the tournament they will encounter the national sides of Singapore, Hong Kong, Swaziland, Ireland, and Malaysia.

“We have faced a number of challenges, in particular with funding, and we look forward to our local communities in New Zealand, Australia, and the Cook Islands getting behind our team and supporting them in their bid for success.”

The board thanked their supporting partners, the Cook Islands Pearl Authority, David Hopkins and the Highwire Charitable Trust, the home of the Northern Stars), who have been invaluable to the team in the build up to this competition.

The Nations Cup will be held from November 3 to 9.

Black Pearls – Rarotonga – Alannah Smith, Anania Piri, Daimzel Rongokea, Luciana Nicholas, Marjorie (Mati) Toru; New Zealand – Alex Iro, Ashleigh Iro, Crystal Maro, Eri Te Ana Short, Nina-Tai Roberts; Australia – Ana Salanoa, Leah Pue; non-travelling reserve – Phillipa Smith (Rarotonga)