Temalisi Fakahokotau fires for the Silver Ferns

11 September 2017

It looked like Temalisi Fakahokotau had been wound up and unleashed.

The Silver Ferns goal keep, back in the squad for the first time in three years, burst off the bench in their 62-55 win over England in Porirua on Thursday night, in the first game of the Taini Jamison Trophy series.

Fakahokotau played the last of her two tests for the Silver Ferns in 2014, but fell down the pecking order in the following two years.

She was brought back in this year after an impressive Premiership campaign and the robust defender immediately made her presence felt against England.

The 22-year-old Fakahokotau came up with a couple of important intercepts during her cameo, including a crucial one right before the end of the third quarter, where England were looking to level.

But with her steal, the Silver Ferns whipped down the other end and scored to go up 42-40 with a quarter to go.

"I was quite nervous going out there, getting put out there with a minute 30 to go in the third quarter," Fakahokotau said.

"But I was definitely really excited to get the opportunity to get out there and just play and enjoy it. And it was good. Obviously having [Katrina Grant] out in front of me, yelling at her, but I enjoyed it. I definitely enjoyed it."

A shift to the Mainland Tactix this year reinvigorated the athletic Fakahokotau and it certainly looked like it against England too, as she was throwing herself into everything during the physical match.

"I was always excited, just being named in the team I was bawling my eyes out. I'm always excited, let's be honest."

She's sure to be in action again in the second test of the series in Napier on Sunday.

Her form gives Silver Ferns coach Janine Southby more depth in what is already a strong defensive end.

With captain Katrina Grant in the goal defence bib, Jane Watson, youngster Kelly Jury, Fakahokotau and Phoenix Karaka, who isn't in the squad for the England series, are all options at goal keep.

"We need anyone who comes on the court during the game to lift the intensity and add value," Southby said.

"Certainly we know when we've used it well in the past it makes a real difference for the team and it lifts the energy.

"Tem had a chance to look at what was happening out there for three quarters of the game and she nailed it when we needed her to."

The changes Southby made as the game went on weren't preordained. She said they read it as they see it and if they think they need to inject something different, they will.

"It's not necessarily the people out there aren't doing the job, it just changes it up and you've got to keep the opposition guessing as to what's going to happen next," Southby said.

"We're lucky we've got a wealth of goal keepers in the country that have got the ability to do that at the moment and that's the depth we need to build across other positions in the team."

After the game, Southby and Grant were praising their last-quarter efforts as they lifted more than England and swept home, after the other three quarters had been tit for tat.


Photo Credit: Michael Bradley Photography

The original article was published on Stuff - https://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/netball/96631378/powerful-defender-temalisi-fakahokotau-unleashed-on-england