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Netball: 'Mana Wahine' calls time on netball career

Radio New Zealand logo Radio New Zealand 14/03/2019
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The former Silver Ferns captain Casey Kopua will retire from all netball at the end of the season.

Kopua, 33, has spent 17 years with the Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic joining the team as a teenager alongside Laura Langman in 2003.

She initially retired from international play in March 2017 not having played for the Silver Ferns since the 2015 Constellation Cup.

However she came out of international retirement last year answering an SOS from new coach Noelene Taurua, who was appointed after the Silver Ferns dismal Commonwealth Games effort where they failed to win a medal for the first time.

Kopua has played 104 tests for the Silver Ferns and while she has won plenty of silverware in that time she's never been part of a world championship winning New Zealand team, having to settle for silver in 2007, 2011 and 2015.

"This next six months is the biggest six months for me because after that, that's it. The only difference is this time it's for good. My mind is willing, but my body isn't," Kopua said.

Magic head coach Amigene Metcalfe has known Kopua as a team-mate and as a player under her charge.

"Casey is certainly synonymous with Magic Netball and it's with great pride I've been able to watch her growth as a team-mate, coach and friend.

"From early on it was obvious to see her potential but what she has given to netball in the region, nationally and internationally has been huge. She is a true competitor, a loyal team member and I'm sure she'll be determined to make this year her best one yet."

Netball Waikato Bay of Plenty Chief Executive Rohan West also paid tribute to Kopua.

"She's a living legend....the 'Mana Wahine' could have been coined for Casey.

"I'm not sure we'll see the likes of her again for many years, if ever," he said.

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