Netball WBOP are thrilled with the announcement that WBOP Magic team members Kelly Jury and Monica Falker have been named in the 12 strong NZU21 Team to defend their title at Netball World Youth Cup Gaborone 2017 (NWYC2017), July 8-16
After a fantastic 2016 season with the WBOP Magic, Jury was named in the 2016 FAST5 Ferns team that won the Fast 5 Netball World Series and was also selected for the Silver Ferns squad to tour South Africa and the UK, making her debut against England in Liverpool.
This is Falkner’s first year in the WBOP Magic team and she’s made an impression in the ANZ Premiership, securing her place in the starting line-up and creating strong partnerships within the attacking end. A product of the Netball WBOP Zone, Falkner hails from Trident High School (Whakatane) and has played in age group teams throughout the Zone.
NZU21 coach Kiri Wills said it had been a tough selection process with all players in the squad stepping up, but the 12 selected have the edge and x-factor required.
“We’ve seen some amazing performances in the ANZ Premiership particularly. The players have shown that they can stand up and that they can be tough – and we’re going to need tough,” Wills said.
“We’ve picked a team that gives us a lot of variety, particularly at either end of the court. We’ve got holding shooters, moving shooters, we’ve got defenders who can play space and play tight man, and so we can mix it up and really use our game plans to our advantage.”
Since the first NWYC in 1988, the NZU21s team has gone on to win Gold on three occasions (1992, 2005 and 2013). They are the reigning world champions having defeated Australia, 52-47, in 2013.
“It’s a great position for us to be in. Generally we’ve been going in as underdogs, but it’s a good challenge to be the defending champions,” Wills said.
“We’ll be fighting for every inch on the court. Gaborone will be an exciting place to play; there are some huge mountains to climb for this team, but I’m confident that they’ve got the will and the guts to follow that through.”
The NZU21s will depart New Zealand on Monday 3 July where they will continue their preparations in Johannesburg, South Africa, before arriving in Gaborone for the start of NWYC2017.
They have been drawn in Pool A against Sri Lanka, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Samoa, with their first match against Northern Ireland at 8am (local time), Saturday 8 July.
For more information and to stay up-to-date with the NZU21s on their journey to NWYC2017, keep an eye on NetballNZ.co.nz