Tiana Metuarau turned out for the Avatiu Dragonflies in their premier clash on Saturday against the high flying Titikaveka Pearls.
Metuarau, who has ancestral links to the Cook Islands through her father, said she had received a call from her cousin about potentially donning the yellow-and-blue dress for a one-off game over the weekend.
“I am in between my seasons at the moment so while I am here, Lucy asked if I wanted a run around and, of course, I said yes.
“Having the chance to get out here and play with not only some of my extended family but also get to play alongside some of the up and coming players, and there is no shortage of some great local talent, it was really good fun.”
Being able to call on the current Central Pulse shooter and member of the extended Silver Ferns development squad, however, was not enough for Avatiu to claim the much-needed win, going down 53-62.
Metuarau started in the unfamiliar position of goal-defence, to combat the capable Titikaveka shooting combination of Alanna Smith and Ani Matenga.
However, the Pearls attack end came out firing and found easy connections across the court to lead going into the first quarter.
Avatiu were guilty of simply wasting the limited turnover opportunities gained and despite showing patches of slick play, the score line blew out to 10 goals midway through the second quarter.
With intermittent rain affecting much of the game’s play late in the game, and the change of Metuarau back to her familiar position of goal-attack, Avatiu were simply unable to make up the deficit, despite getting as close as five goals on a couple of occasions.
Pearls captain Claire Wilson said she was pleased with her team’s overall performance.
“We have been a bit rusty, had a few games off and had people away, but it’s nice to all come back together and have a solid team.
“Our focus today was just to work as a team, reset and play smart, Avatiu are our biggest competition.”
Wilson admitted she was a bit apprehensive when it was known Metuarau would be playing for Avatiu.
“I was a little bit fearful, I’m a bit rusty as I haven’t trained in a while but having Tiana it definitely raised the level of the game and certainly made us play harder and smarter.”