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Expectant Ekenasio out of Ferns squad

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 14/11/2016 Cathy Walshe

Ameliaranne Ekenasio of New Zealand © Simon Watts/Getty Images Ameliaranne Ekenasio of New Zealand

Ameliaranne Ekenasio is missing from the Silver Ferns squad named on Monday, with the 25-year-old goal attack and husband Damien expecting their first child later next year.

Ekenasio has played 12 Tests for New Zealand since making her debut against Australia in 2014, and had signed for the Central Pulse in next year's national elite netball league.

But with the baby due in May, Ekenasio will sit out both the Silver Ferns international calendar next year, and the Pulse's first season in the ANZ Premiership.

New Zealand coach Janine Southby paid tribute to Ekenasio's form over the 2016 season, especially given she lost both her mother and grandmother during that time.

Southby's 15-strong squad boasts two new faces in midcourter Sam Sinclair and defender Kelly Jury, both of whom impressed in New Zealand's Fast5 Netball World Series victory earlier this month in Australia.

Southby says she is excited by the progress the squad has made over the last 12 months.

"Five players made their Silver Ferns debut in 2016, which is an indication of the depth we're building in all areas of the court," she said.

The Silver Ferns team for the northern hemisphere swing of netball's Quad Series in South Africa and England in January and February next year will be named in December.

Silver Ferns: Gina Crampton, Kayla Cullen, Shannon Francois, Katrina Grant, Anna Harrison, Kelly Jury, Phoenix Karaka, Bailey Mes, Storm Purvis, Grace Rasmussen, Te Paea Selby-Rickit, Sam Sinclair, Maria Tutaia, Jane Watson, Maia Wilson.

Silver Ferns development squad: Karin Burger, Jess Moulds, Erikana Pedersen, Zoe Walker.

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