Netball: Anna Harrison resists temptation to return to Silver Ferns

Veteran defender Anna Harrison has ruled out a shock comeback to the Silver Ferns.

As reported by Newshub earlier this week, coach Dame Noeline Taurua admitted the 38-year-old's stellar form for the Stars in the ANZ Premiership had caught her eye and had her hopeful Harrison may also consider a return to international netball.

But on Friday, a flattered Harrison announced that she'd decided against making herself available for selection, albeit not without some serious consideration.

"When you come out of retirement, one of the many worries is being able to perform to the level that I hold myself," Harrison says.

"I'd be lying if I said I wasn't absolutely chuffed that [Dame Noeline] has said that I'm playing at a level that could be considered for the Ferns, so I'm really stoked about that.

"I've spent the last 20 plus years driving myself to be the best I possibly can be in that black dress, so when someone gives you a sniff of it again, the ears prick up.

"There's a lot of voices going on in my head. But in saying that, there's a more rational one that is more in touch with the reality and it is telling me that I will not be available for the Silver Ferns."

Making her debut in 2002, the Westport product enjoyed a glittering career with the Silver Ferns, which stretched 53 games and included two Commonwealth Games gold medals and a world championship win in 2003.

In 2006, Harrison took a hiatus from netball to compete on the international beach volleyball circuit, before returning to the sport in 2010.

Retiring from netball in 2018, Harrison returned to the court for the competition-leading Stars this year, where she's been a huge factor in the team's resurgence.

The Auckland-based team have won five out of their six games so far this season to sit atop the ANZ Premiership ladder.

Despite her current stance, Harrison openly admits she's highly conflicted and wouldn't rule out reconsidering her decision at a later stage of the season.

"I love the challenge and the idea of coming back and giving it a go is so appealing because that's all I know, it's been the focus of my life for the last 20 years," she says.

"I switch between 'yeah, I can do it, this would be awesome' versus 'nah, I'm good.'

"I am saying I'm not available but I have been known to change my mind in the past, but right now I'm comfortbale iwth the decision that I'm not available."

With three children at home, Harrison says the daily demands of motherhood were "absolutely" a huge factor in deciding against taking on the unique demands of netball at the highest level.

"Absolutely. That's the reality of it," she admits.

"We're only a third of the way through the Stars season at the moment and I felt like I was getting on top of it in round four… then I hit the wall again, kids waking up just ruins your energy system.

"I'm just surviving this season and even the thought of going back into the intensity of high performance is exhausting."

Harrison revealed she'd spoken to Dame Noeline after seeing Newshub's reporting of the coach's interest in her.

While she'd love the opportunity to play under the 2019 Halberg Coach of the Year, Harrison resisted making any commitment but did offer her services for practice purposes.

"She's obviously amazing at what she's doing and I would love to experience that as a player," she says.

"But any involvement with the ferns is appealing and I said to her 'hey, if you need another body at training give me a call'.

"But again, is that part of me that's just trying to hang on to something or is something that I really want.

"Ask me again at the end of this season because now I just want to do what I can for this team and perform at the level I want to."