Anna Harrison set to keep the Silver Ferns very honest at national trials

Anna Harrison will never die wondering.

At a time when many mothers of a 2-year-old  and 9-month-old might be dreaming of their youngest sleeping through the night, Harrison is instead plotting a return to the Silver Ferns.

Having not played since last year’s Commonwealth Games, the versatile defender was a surprise addition to the list of national triallists who assembled in Auckland on Sunday.

Not that her inclusion came as a surprise to any of the players, mind you. The rest of us might not have expected to see the 32-year-old rushed back into the fold just nine months after giving birth, but not the Silver Ferns who spent three days playing a composite side that included Harrison prior to departing for August’s Netball World Cup.

There was no holding back from her then and there’ll be none now.

“No I don’t, I give it all and I was stoked to get through those three days of back-to-back games against those girls. It’s going to be a challenge for me and a challenge for the players around me and one of the best ways to get better is to train and play against the best, so it’s a win-win in my opinion,” Harrison said.

What happens after that will be intriguing. Harrison will play for the Northern Mystics in next year’s Trans-Tasman Netball League and had regarded a season of that as her best route back into the Silver Ferns.

But the 79-test stalwart is such a competitor that you couldn’t dismiss her chances of being named in the 12-strong Constellation Cup squad on Wednesday.

“I’m not ruling myself out,” Harrison said. “Physically I’m not at the best I can be or have been and I admit that.

“But I can hold my own and there’s more to netball than just being physically strong. I’ve got 13 years of international sporting experience and, some would say, a personality that can add to a team.”

Netball’s also a great outlet for her right now. Caring for infants can be all-consuming and people can forget to have a life, too.

Not every day’s a breeze for Harrison but she’s been able to establish good routines and learnt how to cut herself some slack.

“There’s those trainings where you’ve got to say, ‘Okay, I’m a bit tired from the kids.’ But we’re coming out of that hazy, sleep-deprived state now and I just need to get out on court.

“I still just love it and that’s when you play your best netball, when you love it, and the day I stop loving it will be the day I hang up the dress.”

Her career will be a year-by-year proposition from here, with things such as the next Commonwealth Games or World Cup much too far off to make a decision about.

In terms of the Constellation Cup, Harrison must have a reasonable chance of inclusion. Casey Kopua, Katrina Grant and Leana de Bruin are certainties for selection at the defensive end, with Phoenix Karaka the fourth member of that unit at the World Cup.

Karaka’s best days are ahead of her and it wouldn’t be a shock if coach Waimarama Taumaunu felt Harrison’s ability to play in the circle and at wing defence was an asset that was needed now.

Elsewhere, Jodi Brown, Bailey Mes and Malia Paseka loom as being three of the four shooters. But it will be fascinating to see which of Cathrine Latu, Ameliaranne Wells, Ellen Halpenny and Te Paea Selby-Rickit gets the remaining spot.

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