The Northern Marvels may have limited time with their captain Samon Nathan, but coach Ripeka Pirie still has plenty of positives on court.
Nathan played the Beko Netball League season opener against the Southern Blast but has been filling in as injury cover for The Good Oil Tactix in the ANZ Premiership.
The Marvels have been adjusting to life without Nathan, which has also been an opportunity for others to make their mark in the league.
“That’s what the Beko League is about – that development and taking your opportunities when they open up,” she said.
Pirie, who has been involved with the Marvels for three years including two as head coach, has just one player returning from last year’s squad.
They have three Northern Mystics training partners including Aisha Bower, an experienced defender returning from injury, along with exciting youngsters Grace Nweke and Nanise Waqaira.
Nweke, who stands at 1.93m, has impressed with her accuracy early on putting up 87 attempts in two games and netting 76.
The Avondale College student has combined well with goal attack Filda Vui who is playing her third year in the Beko League.
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Exciting defender Waqaira is also benefitting from her combination with Bower who has played at ANZ Premiership level, while Renee Te Rinii is an experienced head through the mid-court.
“I think that’s really important for the team this year is that we have those experienced heads around those players stepping up for the first time,” Pirie said.
“It can be difficult to learn when everyone’s learning at the same time.”
The Marvels were pleased to “bank the points” in the win over their northern neighbours, the Comets, last week but will be looking for a more consistent performance against Waikato-BOP.
They have started strongly in both of their Beko games this season but fallen away late in the game which proved costly in their opener against the Southern Blast which they lost.
2019 Northern Marvels: Danielle Binks, Georgia Bodle, Aisha Bower, Shekynah Clarke, Tayla Foster, Courtney Katterns, Armani Lam, Maine-Crystal Maro, Grace Nweke, Jessie Taylor, Renee Te Rinii, Filda Vui, Nanise Waqaira, Hanna Ward.
Points table: Central Manawa 8, Northern Marvels 5, Southern Blast 4, Waikato-BOP 4, Hellers Mainland 1, Northern Comets 1.