Tough ask for rusty Roses against in-form Ferns

The Silver Ferns begin their series against England tonight. Photo: Getty Images
The Silver Ferns begin their series against England tonight. Photo: Getty Images
You would not blame the England Roses if they felt a bit jealous last week.

While the Silver Ferns were on court grabbing four consecutive days of netball, the Roses were completing their final days of quarantine.

They will no doubt have put plenty of practice in.

But there is nothing like a real match.

Tonight they will finally take the court against the Silver Ferns in Hamilton in the first of three games for the Taini Jamison Trophy.

However, they will be facing an in-form Ferns team.

New Zealand won three of its four games last week, winning the Cadbury Series by beating the New Zealand Men 55-52 in the final.

It was a significant result for the side which a year ago lost to the Men by 12, in what proved to be a top preparation for its eventual World Cup triumph.

Monica Falkner is the Ferns’ lone new cap.

She will probably receive a chance to impress in the shooting circle as well, coach Dame Noeline Taurua opting for just three shooters — Ameliaranne Ekenasio and Maia Wilson the others.

In the midcourt, Shannon Saunders provides the Southern Steel’s only presence in the Ferns, although she is joined by recently departed wing attack Gina Crampton.

Sam Winders, who was one of last week’s top performers, Clare Kersten and Whitney Souness make up the rest of the midcourt.

Karin Burger has been selected as a circle defender, while Jane Watson, Sulu Fitzpatrick and Kelly Jury also bring quality to the defensive end.

On the other hand it is a young England team that will take the court.

Its Super Netball players were unavailable, the Australian season having finished within the two-week quarantine timeframe.

That means the likes of Helen Housby, Jo Harten and Geva Mentor are not with the side.

Among the key players it will have are Serena Guthrie, Jade Clark and Kadeen Corbin.

It also boasts new Southern Steel shooter George Fisher.

Tonight’s match begins at 7.30pm.

It will be followed by matches on Friday and Sunday.

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