Waikato/Bay of Plenty Magic have named six newcomers, spearheaded by experienced former Silver Ferns captain Anna Stanley (nee Rowberry), to help defend their national league netball title in 2007.
Stanley joins the solid core of Nicola Cooney, Joline Henry, Laura Langman, Tanya Lund, Irene van Dyk and Casey Williams from last year's winning line-up, her playing pedigree providing the perfect remedy for the loss of stalwart Amigene Metcalfe, who will miss this season through pregnancy.
Midcourters Katrina Anderson and Louise Moffat, defenders Nicola Browne and Kahurangi Waititi and shooter Asha Tett are the other newcomers to the team, which coach Noeline Taurua described as "a very exciting mix of players who offer very good balance."
Taurua felt the standard of fitness at the trials and what players had to offer was a cut above the corresponding time last year and she is excited by what she has seen.
"At this stage, and we've got a long way to go, I would say by the calibre and level of player that we've got they are all, apart from one, ready to take the court and could be seen as viable options," Taurua said.
"That is a credit to the work they have put in over the summer break and they have reached new levels. They're looking like race horses and you could probably find muscles on their eyelids.
"I'm excited about the mix and what I will not only be able to do with them on the court but also the individual personalities they bring. It's very exciting and I'm looking forward to the season."
Midcourter Anderson returns to the Magic after two years on the sidelines following ankle reconstruction surgery with Taurua being impressed by the former Sydney Swift player's ability to create space and read the game.
Defender Browne, who will spend February in India with the New Zealand women's cricket team, is described by Taurua as a "raw prospect" with the potential to become a great netballer.
"She's got a lot to learn but she picks things up really fast and she just caught my eye," Taurua said. "She has international sporting experience, fitness is not a problem, she is tenacious and now I've just got to teach her the court craft."
Moffat and Kuharangi return to the Magic fold after successful personal National Bank Cup campaigns last year when they were loaned to the Flyers and Rebels respectively.
Shooter Tett was in the England under-21 team beaten by New Zealand in the final of the 2005 world youth championships. Currently in New Zealand gaining work experience, Tett ventured to the Magic after being unsuccessful at the Force trials.
While Stanley has yet to reach full fitness after the birth of daughter Taya in November, there is no doubting her value with Taurua saying the street-wise campaigner oozed class during the trials.
Laurelle Borck, Evelyn Horomia, Jessica Langman and Arahi Wall have been named as training partners and will practice with the team throughout the 2007 campaign.
Magic team: Katrina Anderson, Nicola Browne, Nicola Cooney, Joline Henry, Laura Langman, Tanya Lund, Louise Moffat, Anna Stanley, Asha Tett, Irene van Dyk, Kahurangi Waititi, Casey Williams.