Silver Ferns captain Ameliaranne Ekenasio pregnant with second child, to miss 2021 season

  • Updated
  • 07/05/2021

Silver Ferns captain Ameliaranne Ekenasio is pregnant with her second child and will miss the 2021 netball season altogether.

Ekenasio, 30, sat out of the start of Central Pulse's 2021 ANZ Premiership campaign on extended medical leave, citing fatigue.

Ekenasio and husband Damien already have a three-year-old son, Ocean.

"What a bit of a whirlwind of a time," Ekenasio says. "I've been really thankful to have received all the support I have, having had a mental break away from the game and come back now feeling so much more like myself and... so much more like myself and much more refreshed.

"We're definitely really excited - one thing after the other seems like the way it is.

"Ocean will have a little brother and our family just gets a little bit bigger."

Ekenasio found out about her pregnancy earlier this year, about the time of the Silver Ferns' Constellation Cup win over Australia. 

"We found out kind of around [Constellation] Cup time - an interesting time to find out.

"The mental break gave me really good clarity on why I wanted to come back and play, and what my 'why' was and why I love being back in here.

"It was to do with the girls. I'm a competitor, so I just love playing.

"I really was so prepared to come back and play, but I just think this is definitely the right decision for myself and my family."

And the Australian born sharp-shooter says she is eyeing a Commenwealth Games crack as she plots her return to court in 2022.

"The plan is to come back and put myself in a position where i'll be able to contest for a spot in the squads for Birmingham and the World Cup defence."

Taking to social media earlier last month, Ekenasio revealed her ongoing mental health battles, insisting people needed to know it wa okay to ask for help.

"Just because I am a successful athlete does not mean I am immune to mental health challenges," Ekenasio wrote.

"Just because I seemingly have everything going for me does not mean that every single day can be really damn hard. 

"It's not always what it seems on the outside, but it's ALWAYS IMPORTANT to ask for help."

Ekenasio tells Newshub athletes should embrace their mental health and not fear the consequences of taking a step back. 

"All athletes should be able to take some time away guilt free when we give so much doing what we love." 

The Silver Ferns captain hasn't played since March, when she captained New Zealand to the 3-1 victory over Australia.

The last match - a 45-43 win in Christchurch - gave the Silver Ferns the Constellation Cup for the first time in nine years.

"We would like to take this opportunity to offer our best wishes and congratulate Ameliaranne and Damien on their good news,'' says Central Pulse chief executvie Fran Scholey.

"Pregnancy is a reality of women's sport and we are delighted for Ameliaranne, while offering all the support she needs.''

Replacement shooter Ivana Rowland will stand in for Ekenasio with the Pulse for the rest of 2021.