Netball: Magic unveils 2013 squad

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 levels."

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.


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