Little-known Mes a bolter in Silver Ferns

By Daniel Gilhooly, NZ Newswire Updated August 20, 2012, 1:28 pm

A week ago Bailey Mes was barely on the radar of New Zealand netball coach Waimarama Taumaunu.

Now the 23-year-old shooter can be regarded as a Silver Ferns bolter in the truest sense after being named in the midcourt for a three-Test series against Australia next month.

With just one quarter of netball under her belt in this year's trans-Tasman league, it raised eyebrows when utility shooter/midcourter Mes was even included among the 25 players at last week's national trials in Auckland.

Taumaunu's hunch paid off when the Northern Mystics unknown shone beyond all expectation and earned her place as one of four midcourters in the 12-strong squad.

Interest was piqued last Monday when Mes ranked in the top three for every fitness test indicator. The five selectors did a double-take when her 1.86m frame unleashed a 60cm standing jump.

"That's not the only thing in netball but she caught everyone's attention," Taumaunu told NZ Newswire.

"It wasn't until she put those attributes on court and displayed finesse with the ball that we started to look closer."

Over three days of matches she formed a slick combination with veteran shooter Irene van Dyk.

"I don't think anyone realised quite how capable she would look in the company of other Silver Ferns," Taumaunu said.

"Coming in, there was a possibility she might make a wider squad but she was a revelation."

Joining Mes in the midcourt are the Test-hardened Laura Langman, Mystics defender Kayla Cullen and returning Pulse centre Camilla Lees.

Mes' path to Mystics selection this year was blocked by Silver Ferns shooters Maria Tutaia and Cathrine Latu while veteran centre Temepara George, England international midcourter Jade Clarke and 2010 Silver Fern utility Grace Rasmussen blocked midcourt opportunities.

Rasmussen has been selected as a "wider squad" player, alongside Julianna Naoupu, Anna Thompson and Te Huinga Reo Selby-Rickit.

Taumaunu said Naoupu was recognised as a talent but was pipped by veteran Jodi Brown for the fourth shooting berth, after struggling with a knee tendon niggle throughout the trials.

Silver Ferns squad:

Shooters: Irene van Dyk, Maria Tutaia, Cathrine Latu, Jodi Brown

Midcourt: Laura Langman, Camilla Lees, Bailey Mes, Kayla Cullen

Defence: Leana de Bruin, Katrina Grant, Anna Harrison, Casey Williams (captain)

Wider squad members:

Julianna Naoupu, Grace Rasmussen, Anna Thompson, Te Huinga Reo Selby-Rickit.