In shifting cities, starting a new job and getting her first taste of action in the Synergy Hair Netball League (NNL), 2024 has provided a fresh set of exciting challenges for Central Manawa midcourter Suraya Goss.

After five years at Massey University in her home town of Palmerston North, Goss, 23, completed her Masters in Mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge) at the end of last year and moved to Wellington this year to take up a job in Parliament with the Te Pāti Māori Party, where she works in the co-leaders' office across communications, policy and research as an advisor.

Playing out of the Massey Netball Club, based at the university, and a Manawatu Open Women's representative, Goss was also able to transport her sporting skills to this year's Manawa line-up, where she is playing in the NNL for the first time.

"This is my first season at this level, having come from just club and rep netball, so coming into this environment has been a big step up for me, challenging but also very rewarding and I'm so blessed and grateful for the opportunity," she said.

"I have learnt so much so far. Every week I'm only hungrier to keep learning, to be better and to be the best player that I can be.

"There's been lots of changes being in this environment in NNL, then also a new job but it’s all so exciting and very rewarding."

Following a strong 59-39 win against Mainland in their last outing, Manawa have kept themselves well in the frame in the race to secure a top two finish and a spot in the grand final. Northern teams, the Marvels and Comets, are still the pace-setters but remain within touching distance.

Manawa will get the opportunity to test their resolve with a rematch looming against the Comets in Round 6 action in Wellington on Saturday. A fast-finishing last quarter burst helped the Comets overtake Manawa and clinch a 57-53 win in Round 1.

"It's really important for us to keep building, ensuring that our game preparation each week is strong and also looking at the gaps and where we can improve and be better, to keep contesting and putting us in a better position where we can win," Goss said.

"Comets will be another good challenge for us and we will be better this time around."

Finding her feet at a new level of competing, Goss is loving the opportunity while soaking up everything on offer.

"I'm just embracing it all and taking in everything that I can, making the most of the expertise that I have around me in this environment, pushing myself as hard as I can to keep growing my game to just be the best that I can be and have fun with it as well," she said.