Injured Silver Ferns netballer Maria Tutaia says having to watch her mates from the stands last night has only added to her desire to perform at the top level.
She cut a forlorn figure throughout the game and sung the national anthem through pursed lips with arms firmly folded.
While injured captain Casey Williams rode the highs and lows of last night's 59-53 loss on the bench, Tutaia was clearly struggling with missing out on what would have been her 71st Test.
Williams said Tutaia had asked about wearing her Ferns' dress under her civvies and repeatedly - and jokingly - told coach Waimarama Taumaunu she was available if needed.
But the 25-year-old's prepatellar bursitis (inflamed knee) from falling awkwardly in the second test win last week restricted her movement and she was never a viable option to play last night.
She hoped to be back to full training by the end of the week and was ''absolutely'' going to be available for the Ferns' opening Quad Nations match, against South Africa in Adelaide on October 14.
''Yeah, I was sad last night,'' she said at Christchurch airport today.
''You want to play every Test match and to not put on the black dress for the first time in a very long time was very hard for me.''
But being unavailable seems to have fired Tutaia up even more, possibly because Taumaunu was so pleased with how 31-year-old Jodi Brown filled in at goal attack.
''[Not playing] makes me want to go out there even more, which is something great because wearing that black dress you already have a lot of motivation.''
Like Taumaunu, Tutaia preferred to focus on the positives of getting new combinations on court in last night's test rather than losing by six goals in a performance about as hot and cold as the Ferns can go.
''We never want to lose and we really wanted a whitewash [but] it's all about building the base and trying combinations we've never played before and we did that well.''
The Silver Ferns name their side for the Quad Nations tomorrow.