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NZ triallists look to make mark on Southby

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 16/08/2016 Angelo Risso

A file photo of Silver Ferns playing against Australian Diamonds. © Paul Kane/Getty Images A file photo of Silver Ferns playing against Australian Diamonds. Silver Ferns boss Janine Southby has been very explicit about the attributes she wants in her netball side.

Fast, strong, durable, collaborative.

But above all, there are to be no passengers.

Southby convened 28 Silver Ferns hopefuls in Auckland on Tuesday for the Netball Quad Series trials, putting the players through their paces.

The triallists undertook passing drills, fitness tests and a mock match under the watchful eye of Southby and her fellow national selectors.

Two team lists will be named, one for the Quad Series and another for the Taini Jamison Trophy series against Jamaica.

Even vice-captain and midcourt general Laura Langman, a mainstay in the side for over a decade, felt her spot was not untouchable.

"The midcourt is the strongest it's been and, with the versatility of what we can offer in the midcourt, there's competition there," the 30-year-old told NZN.

"The girls looked fantastic, really fresh, and they embraced the different element of having a bit of conditioning and concept work."

Southby, who has already decided upon half of the squad, was pleased with the extended group's performance but noted too many moments of inconsistency.

Bulking up the side's offensive firepower after star goalshooter Maria Tutaia's foot injury was key.

"The reality is that we're down three of our four shooters from last season, so that's a big hit in any team," Southby told NZN.

"But where there's disappointment, there's always opportunity.

"When you've got a Maria, it's hard to put her on the bench to let someone else have their opportunity, but now we have to."

The Quad Series will pit New Zealand against England on August 27 and South Africa on August 31, before the Silver Ferns tussle with rivals Australia on September 4.

Langman, who is touted as a potential Kiwi skipper in the absence of defender Casey Kopua, said the series was an ideal start to the international calendar.

"Depending on the make-up of our group, there could be some newbies to the international scene," Langman said.

"It'll be a great occasion to get that exposure started."

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