Magic strengthen key areas for 2022 season
The Splice Construction Magic have retained the core of this year’s ANZ Premiership team but have added exciting depth to key areas on court with the signings of Ameliaranne Ekenasio, Claire Kersten and Bailey Mes.
They are joined by defender and new Silver Ferns Development Squad member Oceane Maihi as the new faces of a Magic side.
Long-serving Magic captain, midcourter and Silver Fern Samantha Winders returns as an important and integral member of the Magic team.
Magic coach Mary-Jane Araroa said she was pleased to be able to strengthen areas of the team with the inclusion of world champion shooters Mes and Ekenasio while the experienced Kersten would prove an ideal foil to Winders in the midcourt, and rising star Maihi would bring a new dynamic to the defensive end.
“It’s really important to the Magic family that we retained our connection to our region through current players such as Sam, Erena (Mikaere) and Khiarna (Williams), Georgia (Tong) and Georgie (Edgecombe) but we are also excited to add to the Magic mix with current and future Silver Ferns and Development Squad members.”
Mes, who has spent 10 seasons with the newly crowned ANZ Premiership champion Mystics, makes the move south to the Magic for a new challenge for her netball career.
Predominantly selected in the shooting circle, Mes can also cover the wing attack position - a position she was initially selected for in the Silver Ferns in 2012.
“It is always a difficult decision to move away from a team like the Mystics who have played a big part in my netball career, but I’m excited about a new opportunity and the chance to work with different combinations,” Mes said.
“It is a bit of the unknown for me but I find that refreshing and I’m looking forward to the new season.”
Silver Fern Claire Kersten, who captained the Pulse this year, said she was looking forward to teaming up with Winders in the midcourt and the chance to grow her own game by joining a new environment.
“It was a tough decision to leave the Pulse but I’m really excited to be joining the Magic next year. This is going to push me out of my comfort zone and I think that’s a positive for my game.”
Araroa said the inclusion of Maihi into the defensive end was exciting having followed the progress of the defender during this year’s ANZ Premiership.
Maihi was an impact player for the Stars this season with her performances catching the eye of national selectors and earning a place in the Silver Ferns Development Squad.
More court time will be the goal for the 1.83m in-circle defender who said she was looking forward to joining the Magic team.
“I’m really excited to take that next step with the development of my game and for it to be in Magic colours,” she said.
Araroa, who is yet to name her 10th player for the 2022 squad, also paid tribute to Australian Diamond Caitlin Bassett with the shooter deciding not to return to New Zealand for next year’s ANZ Premiership.
“C-Bass is a professional, brings great team spirit and is an awesome team member, who will be missed and we wish her well,” she said.
Araroa also acknowledged experienced players Grace Kara and Temalisi Fakahokotau “who had great on court presence and game smarts along with their contribution as senior leaders within the Kaitiaki roopu.”
Araroa was also grateful for the services of Holly Fowler, Chiara Semple and Tori Kolose “who will both be remembered for their bubbly personalities and eagerness to learn.”
"We wish our departed players all the best for the future and know you will always be part of our Magic whānau and heart."
Magic General Manager Gary Dawson said he was pleased to retain the core of this year’s team but also strengthen all areas of the court with their new signings for 2022. This team provides a balance between young, up and coming players, with experienced squad members.
“We are extremely proud of the Magic’s netballing history and the success this region has enjoyed. We welcome Bailey, Claire, Oceane and Ameliaranne to the Magic whānau and look forward to developing this unit into another successful Magic chapter.”
With nine players currently confirmed, the Magic will announce their final signing for the 2022 ANZ Premiership season in the coming weeks.
Splice Construction Magic 2022 team: