Highlighting its strong presence at under-21 level, three players from Netball Central have been included in the New Zealand team to contest the Netball World Youth Cup Gaborone 2017 (NWYC2017) in July.

In one of the most hotly-contested teams selected at this level, shooter Tiana Metuarau and midcourters Kimiora Poi and Mila Reuelu-Buchanan have been rewarded for standout seasons to cement their spots in the 12-strong New Zealand team for the Botswana-based tournament.

The dynamic young Central trio have performed at consistently high standards throughout this year’s ANZ Premiership and Netball Beko League competitions in adding their mark to an impressive under-21 line-up.

Teenaged schoolgirl Metuarau has been a revelation in becoming a regular starter in New Zealand’s elite domestic competition while fleet-footed midcourters Poi and Reuelu-Buchanan have played key roles in Central’s unbeaten run at Beko level while also having an ANZ presence.

``We’re delighted these girls have made the World Youth Cup team and is a testament to the proactive work the Zone has put in to player development in recent times,’’ Central Performance Manager Natalie Milicich said.

``It is a fantastic outcome for the girls, a great reflection on the Zone and we couldn’t be more thrilled for them.’’

A rigorous selection policy has been undertaken to give the New Zealand team every chance of retaining the title they won in Scotland in 2013 with all players in the frame having numerous domestic and international opportunities to press their claims.

Reduced from an original squad of the 17, the 2017 edition of the New Zealand under-21 team is headlined by Silver Ferns duo Maia Wilson and Kelly Jury who are supported by an outstanding selection of up-and-coming talent which has left its mark at ANZ Premiership and Beko level.

``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,” coach Kiri 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 New Zealand under-21 team has won gold on three occasions (1992, 2005 and 2013).

Netball Central also has three International Netball Federation-appointed umpires who will be in action during the event with Gareth Fowler, Ann Hay and Angela Armstrong-Lush being part of the international officials’ line-up.

The team leave New Zealand on July 3, continuing their preparation in Johannesburg, South Africa, ahead of their first game in Gaborone on July 8. They have been drawn in Pool A with Sri Lanka, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Samoa. 

NZU21s team:



TEAM (ANZ Premiership &/or Beko Netball League)

Aliyah Dunn


Netball South / Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel

Charlotte Elley (VC)


Silvermoon Tactix

Abby Erwood


Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel

Monica Falkner


WBOP Magic

Fa’amu Ioane


Northern Stars

Kelly Jury


WBOP Magic

Kate Lloyd


Hellers Netball Mainland / Silvermoon Tactix

Tiana Metuarau


Te Wānanga O Raukawa Pulse

Kimiora Poi


Netball Central / Te Wānanga O Raukawa Pulse

Mila Reuelu-Buchanan


Netball Central / Te Wānanga O Raukawa Pulse

Michaela Sokolich-Beatson (C)



Maia Wilson


Northern Stars

NZU21s NWYC2017 Match Schedule (local time):
Note: Botswana is -10hours behind New Zealand
Day 1, Saturday 8 July: 8am, New Zealand v Northern Ireland
Day 2, Sunday 9 July: 2pm, Samoa v New Zealand
Day 3, Monday 10 July: 10am, Scotland v New Zealand
Day 4, Tuesday 11 July: REST DAY
Day 5, Wednesday 12 July: 9am, New Zealand v Sri Lanka
Days 6 – 9: Finals (Pools reconfigured)