Netball: Metcalfe still enjoying the fray

Magic wing attack Amigene Metcalfe looks to make a pass during her team's round five ANZ...
Magic wing attack Amigene Metcalfe looks to make a pass during her team's round five ANZ Championship match against the Wellington Pulse at the Mystery Creek Events Centre in Hamilton earlier this month. Photo from Getty Images.
In what could be considered netball's version of television reality show Survivor, evergreen midcourters Amigene Metcalfe, Jenny-May Coffin and Julie Seymour have been trying to outwit, outplay and outlast each other for more than a decade.

You might say Seymour has won the most reward challenges with 89 test caps.

But Coffin racked up 26 and Metcalfe got her "15 minutes of fame".

The 34-year-old Magic wing attack made her sole appearance for the Silver Ferns towards the end of the 2004 tour of Australia.

"There is always a part of you that thinks it would have been nice to have more opportunities at international level just to see how you'd go," she explained, when asked if she would have liked to have played more tests.

"Everything I've achieved in netball I'm really proud of, and there are no regrets because I've done pretty much everything I could do to achieve what I have."

While Metcalfe was often overlooked for the national side in favour of Seymour or Coffin, the rivalry has been overshadowed by her admiration for the duo.

In Seymour she sees a sort of kindred spirit, in that they have both returned to the game after having families.

Metcalfe played alongside Coffin with Waikato "for years" and rates her highly.

But Metcalfe and Steel co-captain Coffin will have to put their friendship on hold for an hour when their teams meet in round seven of the ANZ Championship in Hamilton on Monday.

"It is always quite interesting when you come up against old team-mates. You always look forward to the catch-up afterwards actually. But she is just another player on the court that we have to think about."

Metcalfe and Coffin will not mark each other. In all likelihood they will both be playing at wing attack, which is a relief for Metcalfe.

"Knowing it [her game] and being able to combat it is a different story."

Playing at a high intensity week after week is a challenge for the busy mother of 4-year-old Jorja and 1-year-old Ryan.

Mix in a part-time job as a high performance development officer for Waikato Netball, and some teaching at St Peters in Cambridge, and there are not many hours left in the week.

But there is no mention of retirement yet.

"I don't want to be one of those people who are still playing when they really shouldn't be," she said, laughing.

"So it is just trying to read what is the best time. Now I've got a family it is about what is best for them, too.

"But it is one of those things, where if you still feel you are good enough then why not [continue playing]."

The Magic has been carrying the torch for the New Zealand sides and is in second place with five wins from six matches.

The Steel is towards the bottom of the competition table with two wins from six matches.

While the tournament is in its middle stages, and there is enough time for the Steel to claw its way back into contention, the Otago-Southland combined side desperately needs a win against the Magic to generate some momentum.

The Magic captain was aware the Steel will have a backs-to-the-wall attitude, which she said was helping guard against complacency.

"They are a team you are never going to take lightly, especially with their coaching personnel. Even though they are placed at the bottom of the table they are by no means out of it. Every game for them is an opportunity to make the top four still."

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