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Quad Series skippers lead from the front

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 25/08/2016 Angelo Risso and Boris Jancic

One series. Four teams. Four new captains.

The inaugural Netball Quad Series opens on Saturday with new skippers at the helm of competing powerhouses New Zealand, Australia, England and South Africa.

Silver Ferns enforcer Katrina Grant stands in for the absent Casey Kopua, while Diamonds defender Clare McMeniman does the same for the rested Laura Geitz.

Proteas midcourter Bongi Msomi also holds the fort for incumbent captain Maryka Holtzhausen, who was felled by a knee injury on the eve of the series.

Roses veteran Ama Agbeze was named England team captain in April and has already led the side through May's Netball Europe tournament.

"It's been a long road, a very long road," Agbeze said on Thursday.

"I've experienced lots of things, been to lots of places and met lots of people, and I'm still here."

McMeniman, who led the Diamonds in Geitz's absence in their 3-0 series whitewash over England in January, was clear on what style of leadership she preferred.

She hoped to make the most of the experience.

"I'm quite direct and honest, I like to be myself and I don't pretend to be anyone else," the 31-year-old Queensland Firebirds star said.

"I like to hold people accountable for what they're meant to be doing, to drive standards, and I can be a stickler for the rules."

Grant, who also skippers club side Central Pulse, said she'd transfer some of the lessons learned in Wellington to the international stage.

Vice-captain Laura Langman would be a constant point of reference.

"This is an amazing bunch of girls to lead, so I'm very privileged to have the honour of doing that," the 29-year-old Grant said.

"I'll still be the same me, the same leader."

The tournament starts off in Auckland with Australia meeting South Africa, before the Silver Ferns try to make home advantage count against the Roses.

None of the captains took their opponents for granted, with the Diamonds on red alert for the Proteas' high-octane approach.

"We don't have much exposure to them but they're only going to have strengthened their skills and line-up," McMeniman said.

"In that situation it's about focusing on our own game style."

Grant was equally mindful of England's strengths.

"They've come a very long way and we had some close games against them in the World Championships," Grant said.

"They'll start strong and we need to be wary of that, and stick to what we do and know best."

Msomi, 28, couldn't wait to tussle with the world's best.

"We're looking forward to the challenges ahead, to seeing what will come out of this," Msomi said.

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