Constellation Cup brings new battle for Silver Ferns captain

Monday 10 September 2012, 7:45PM

By Netball New Zealand


There will be no hangovers from this year’s ANZ Championship when the Silver Ferns suit up for the Constellation Cup, says captain Casey Williams.

The world class defender was one of four Ferns to help guide the Waikato-BOP Magic to a maiden ANZ Championship win in July but Williams said that history-making win was now just that, history.

“There’s definitely no hangovers….it’s a new game, a new battle for us,” she said.  “The (Constellation) Cup is international netball and you can’t rest on your laurels after winning the ANZ Champs.  It’s another step up.”

The Ferns were in camp last week and head to Melbourne this Thursday ahead of the Constellation Cup’s opening test between the Silver Ferns and the Australian Diamonds on September 16.

Williams, who underwent surgery on a troublesome ankle injury last year, last led the Silver Ferns in the world championship final in Singapore and admits to being a “terrible” spectator especially when it comes to trans-Tasman netball after watching last year’s tests against the Australian Diamonds.

“They are such special tests and everyone wants to play against Australia,” Williams said.  “I’m terrible watching from the couch so I’m very keen to get out on court this year.”

But she will be doing so without some experienced Ferns’ linchpins following the retirement of Temepara George and unavailability of Joline Henry.  Camilla Lees and rookie Bailey Mes come into the midcourt mix as replacements as does Kayla Cullen who made her Ferns’ debut in the defensive circle last year but is likely to be pushed further up court this season.

Williams said it would be “different looking up court and not seeing Bubby (George) but it’s exciting to see some new faces there and what they offer to the game”.

“It’s a lot of experience to lose but each new player brings their own strengths,” she said.  “It does change the dynamics but it brings something new.

“We know that Australia will be as tough as always and that’s the challenge for whoever is out there in that black dress.”

The Melbourne test marks the start of a busy international season including the three-test Cup series followed by the New World Quad Series and the Fast5 Netball Series in Auckland in November, but Williams said she was looking forward to full calendar after sitting out last year.

“We have had time out since the ANZ Champs and we make sure we relax and get away from the game if we want to,” she said.  “Then when we’re back we are refreshed and ready to go.”

New World Netball Series - Constellation Cup
■ Test One:  September 16 in Melbourne
■ Test Two:  September 20 in Auckland
■ Test Three:  September 23 in Christchurch