Games stars Queenstown bound
TALENTED young netballers in the Southern Lakes will have plenty of inspiration when 14 netballers who competed at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi feature at a preseason tournament hosted by the Southern Steel in Queenstown early next year.
Steel officials have confirmed the talent-laden NSW Swifts and Queensland Firebirds will join their New Zealand-based ANZ Championship counterparts the Canterbury Tactix, Central Pulse and the home team at a three-day netball spectacular to be staged in the resort from January 28 to 30.
‘‘We are just so excited that we can give our fans the chance to see some of the world’s best netballers in action in our own backyard,’’ Steel chief executive Julie Paterson said.
‘‘It’s also a great opportunity to take our games to a part of our Southern region which supports us so strongly.’’
Australian Diamonds’ Rebecca Bulley, Catherine Cox, Mo’onia Gerrard, Kimberlee Green, Susan Pratley, Laura Geitz, Natalie Medhurst and Lauren Nourse, together with international stars Romelda Aiken (Jamaica) and Sonia Mkoloma (England), will represent their respective teams against the Steel’s Commonwealth Games gold medalists Liana Barrett-Chase, Leana de Bruin and Daneka Wipiiti and fellow Silver Fern and Pulse defender Katrina Grant.
‘‘The compelling double extra-time gold medal match in Delhi is still fresh in people’s minds and the potential rematches between some players will be spectacular to watch,’’ Paterson said.
Eager for a competitive hit out as a precursor to the ANZ Championship, the annual preseason tourna- ment had proved a crucial part of the Steel’s build-up in the past.
‘‘The 2011 tournament will be no exception, especially considering the early start to the competition and the intense nature of the draw which includes doubleheader rounds for the first time,’’ Paterson said.
‘‘With our Silver Fern players travelling to the UK and unavailable until the end of January, this will be the team’s only preseason hit-out.’’
Tickets to the event, to be staged at the Queenstown Events Centre, will go on sale later this month once the draw is finalised.
Heading our way: Gold medal-winning Silver Ferns stars are Queenstown bound.