Games stars Queen­stown bound

Central Otago Mirror - - CENTRAL NEWS -

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.

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