There was a mix of familiar and new as reigning ANZ
Championship title holders Waikato/Bay of Plenty Magic
launched their 2013 squad today.
With nine players returning, the team has a stable look to it
while also introducing a handful of youthful new recruits.
The retention of Silver Ferns quartet Irene van Dyk, Laura
Langman, Casey Williams and Leana de Bruin ensures continuity
and an experienced base for Magic.
That is shored up by a solid core from their winning 2012
edition in Elias Shadrock, Jess Tuki, Jess Waitapu, Erena
Mikaere and Australian import Khao Watts.
The team is also boosted by the return of versatile defender
Jodi Tod, who is back after a year out on maternity duty.
Those new to the squad are shooter Ellen Halpenny, who makes
the move north from the Canterbury Tactix, and three
youngsters in the form of Kendra Falefitu (shooter), Nadia
Loveday (midcourt) and Jaime Lee Price (defence) - daughter
of former Warriors captain Steve Price.
"It's a really exciting time for us to be naming this group
of players," Magic assistant coach Tanya Dearns said.
"In recent years, the Magic has probably struggled with
finding a consistent depth. There's been a lot of work done
in the last couple of years to build that depth and raise the
Gone from last year are shooter Julianna Naoupu and defender
Sulu Tone-Fitzpatrick. A strong desire to return home will
see the talented Naoupu suit up for the Tactix next year
while Tone-Fitzpatrick has headed to the Southern Steel in
search of more game time.
With squads being able to carry 14 players this year, the
Magic have been able to invest in three rookies who will be
immersed in the professional environment with a view to
keeping the succession plan ticking over.
Falefitu is out of Auckland Girls' Grammar School and played
for Bay of Plenty Gold in this year's national provincial
championships. Loveday and Price come out of the same
nursery, Mt Albert Grammar, where they are current senior
players for the school.
Waikato/Bay of Plenty Magic squad for the 2013 ANZ
Championship season: Leana de Bruin, Kendra Falefitu, Ellen
Halpenny, Laura Langman, Nadia Loveday, Erena Mikaere, Jaime
Lee Price, Jodi Tod, Elias Shadrock, Jess Tuki, Irene van
Dyk, Jess Waitapu, Khao Watts, Casey Williams.