School teacher gunning for Silver Ferns squad at age of 28

Central Pulse mid-courter Claire Kersten is aiming to get her first ever spot in a Silver Ferns, taking part in her first trials at the age of 28.

Kersten, who works as a school teacher at Newlands College in Wellington, has enjoyed a meteoric rise this year as a key member of the Pulse, having not even made an ANZ side in 2015 and featuring sporadically in 2016 - hoping to take her game to the international level.

At the age of 28, Kersten is one of the older first-time triallists hoping to wear the black dress, even admitting that she thought the chance might have passed her by.

"A couple of years ago, I wasn't even playing ANZ, so there's been a big change since then," she told 1 NEWS.

"It's a great experience to be here, I'm just enjoying the week."

Kersten also says that she has the full backing of her students, who are without their teacher once again due to sporting commitments.

"They think 'oh yeah - she's away again'"

"They're pretty cool about it. It's nice having that support from the school and the staff."

Claire Kersten from Wellington is taking part in Silver Ferns trials for the first time. Source: 1 NEWS



'It's not designed to be easy' – Silver Ferns coach on brutal training camp

Silver Ferns coach Janine Southby is insisting that her side will be ready for a challenging season, after putting them through an intense training regime at Silver Ferns trials in Auckland.

Southby has named a 25-strong squad to compete for a spot in the Silver Ferns' squad for the Netball Quad Series and Taini Jamison Trophy later this year.

"We've had a pretty intense couple of days," Southby told TVNZ1's Te Karere.

"We've thrown different challenges at them, that's what we need to do because our programme is really tough."

"If it was easy, everyone would be here. It's not designed to be easy."

The Silver Ferns' squad will be announced on August 7.

Janine Southby is putting her side through their paces before a big season. Source: 1 NEWS

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From moving cattle to the Silver Ferns – Kelly Jury credits farm life for meteoric rise

Netball New Zealand's tallest asset Kelly Jury has come a long way from her days on her family farm in south east Taranaki, turning heads after a strong season for the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic and playing an instrumental part in New Zealand's under-21 Youth World Cup success in Botswana last week.

A farm girl at heart, Jury was brought up in the little town of Makahu, about 75 minutes drive from New Plymouth.

Jury says her initial move from Makahu to the big smoke (Hamilton) took a while to get used to.

"I think I've got used to it now, but first I was like 'wow there's lots of traffic and lots of noise'", Jury said.

She puts her rise in her netball career down to her parents' work ethic around the family farm.

"You could say I got a lot of my values of hard work and stuff by watching my parents, of how hard they worked to keep this place (farm) going," she said.

"So farm life out here you know, I had a great childhood. After school me and my brothers would get off the bus and get straight onto the motorbikes.

Jury admitted she doesn't have any musical or hidden talents, telling 1 NEWS "I’m still waiting to find them". Source: 1 NEWS

"We would go down to find dad and then we'll be helping dad out with whatever we could - moving stock, moving cattle and weighing lambs."

Jury plays both goal defence and goal keep and says her friends still struggle to fathom that she is a professional athlete.

"A lot of my friends feel like I'm too laid back to be a professional athlete because when they see me they think I'm really good at switching on and off from my netball life and social life."

Standing at 192cm tall, the Taranaki native has not let her meteoric rise go to her head.

"So when they see me they're like "'you're too humble to be playing that kind of netball'".

Jury was named the player of the match in New Zealand's 60-57 win against arch rivals Australia in Gabarone, Botswana last week.

The 20-year-old was named in the Silver Ferns squad for the Quad Series earlier this year, making her debut in February against England.

She's now played four times for the Silver Ferns. 

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Silver Ferns' goal keep Kelly Jury of New Zealand and Bethan Dyke of Wales compete for the ball. Source: Photosport

"I'm very laid back and mum probably freaks out about that. She thinks I'm a bit too laid back at times."

She was also part of the Ferns' team that won the 2016 Fast5 Netball World Series in October.

Jury had a major setback at the start of her professional career, rupturing her Achilles the day after after signing with the Magic.

She eventually made her debut for Magic in 2016, as well as studying sport and leisure part-time at the University of Waikato.

The Silver Ferns begin their Quad Series campaign on August 27 in Brisbane against South Africa.

Jury made her debut for the Ferns in February and was named the player of the match in NZ's U21 final against Australia last week. Source: 1 NEWS