Irene van Dyk reveals Silver Ferns have played men's teams for years and they made her 'a better netballer'

Despite some criticism towards the Silver Ferns' upcoming match against an invitational men's team, one legend of the black dress says playing males throughout her career actually made her a better player.

Irene van Dyk told Radio New Zealand she played against multiple men's throughout her 14-year Silver Ferns career to help prepare for international Tests and competitions.

"They have made me a better netballer so I am stoked that our netballers are going to get the opportunity to prepare against them," van Dyk said.

"The men are incredibly fast, the ball travels twice as fast, they jump twice as high and they hang for days in the air, so you literally have to adjust within the game and for the other 55 minutes you are trying to outsmart them."

The Silver Ferns will play the men's side as part of a tournament which will also feature Fiji and an ANZ Premiership All Stars side at Auckland's Pulman Arena from June 26 to 29.

The 145-cap great said when she was playing, the Silver Ferns would face off with men's sides at least twice before every Test - games that kept under wraps for many as they worked to find the best preparation they could.

"Unless you are a netty player and you have played against the men, the public have no idea how incredibly skillful these male netballers are.

"They haven't seen them and I think with it being televised it's going to be an epic battle - they have to be seen because we have some incredible male netball players."

The 46-year-old shooter retired from international netball in 2014 and is now a specialist coach at the Central Pulse.

Silver Fern goal shoot Irene van Dyk Source: Photosport

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