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Kopua returns to netball fray

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 11/03/2017

Kopua will return after the birth of her first child. © Martin Hunter/Getty Images Kopua will return after the birth of her first child. Former Silver Ferns skipper Casey Kopua's return to top-tier netball has stepped up a notch at the national Premiership pre-season tournament in Otaki.

Kopua, who last played for New Zealand nearly two years ago, turned out for the Magic on Saturday as they tackled the Central Pulse on the second day of the warm-up fixture.

The 101-Test defender, back after the birth of daughter Maia last year, came up against a familiar face in shooter Cathrine Tuivaiti.

The former Silver Ferns shooter played just the first quarter, caution winning out after a minor calf tweak, as the Pulse eased out to a 45-30 win in the 40-minute match.

Coach Yvette McCausland-Durie continued to rotate her players, testing a range of combinations after opening the day's play with a 53-48 loss to the Southern Steel.

Earlier, the Magic edged new franchise the Northern Stars 53-51, their new-look shooting combination of South African Lenize Potgieter and Monica Falkner impressing despite strong defensive pressure from Leana de Bruin and Sulu Fitzpatrick.

In the final game, Mainland Tactix led from start to finish to outplay the Mystics 60-51, well marshalled by experienced goal attack Anna Thompson as they built on solid defence from Temalisi Fakahokatau and Zoe Walker.

The six-team New Zealand Premiership is in its inaugural year following the demise of the trans-Tasman netball league last year.

Competition starts on March 26 with a triple-header at Claudelands Arena in Hamilton.

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