Commonwealth Games: Tall Ferns make NZ team for Gold Coast largest ever

Charlisse Leger-Walker
Charlisse Leger-Walker in action. Photo credit: Photosport

New Zealand's Commonwealth Games team for the Gold Coast has reached 251 athletes - our largest ever - with the naming of the women's basketball line-up.

The Tall Ferns are the last of our sporting contingents to be selected, edging the overall team ahead of the 249 sent to Melbourne in 2006.

Fittingly, that was the last time basketball made an appearance the Games, with both the NZ men and women snagging silver medals.

New Tall Ferns coach Guy Molloy has chosen just one survivor from that squad - guard Micaela Cocks - alongside fellow veterans Antonia Farnworth and Natalie Taylor. Cocks and Taylor both attended the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Perhaps the most notable selection is 16-year-old guard Charlisse Leger-Walker, following mother Leanne and older sister Krystal into the black singlet.

Leanne Walker represented New Zealand at two Olympics - Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004 - captaining the side at the latter. Krystal Walker, who also debuted for the Tall Ferns as teenager, attends Northern Colorado University and was unavailable for selection.

"My mum is really excited," says Charlisse, a Year 12 student at St Peter's School Cambridge. "She has a bit of a poker face, but beneath that seriousness, she was really happy.

"I told Krystal straight away, as she was asking me every day if I was in the team. She is so excited I am going to the Commonwealth Games."

The full Tall Ferns team for the Gold Coast is:

Jess Bygate, Micaela Cocks, Antonia Farnworth, Deena Franklin, Jordan Hunter, Zara Jillings, Charlisse Leger-Walker, Chevannah Paalvast, Kalani Purcell, Erin Roone, Jose Stockill, Natalie Taylor