Netball: Motherhood a new challenge as part of Silver Ferns' Quad Series tour

The Silver Ferns are on their way to England to contest this month's Quad Series - finally ending a two-year hiatus from international travel. 

But it's a trip that comes with fresh challenges, namely avoiding COVID-19 - and babysitting.

Extra carry-on has a whole new meaning for the Silver Ferns, with a few new faces for their first overseas trip in nearly two years.

"I have a whole extra suitcase of snacks, nappies, [and] formulas I never had to worry about before," says defender Kayla Johnson.

Johnson and Phoenix Karaka will travel halfway around the world to don the black dress for the first time since becoming mums, with their daughters in tow.

"Coming back to international level is definitely going to be a challenge," Johnson adds. 

"Then having my daughter around and balancing mum life and netball life is definitely going to be different."

But it won't be the only different thing about this international tour, with the threat of COVID-19 impossible to ignore.

The Silver Ferns are confident they've done enough groundwork off the court to dodge COVID-19, so they can concentrate on what happens on it, with the Birmingham Commonwealth Games fast approaching.

"We just get on the plane, we get off the plane, we're in a bus, to the hotel, training venue and that's it," says coach Dame Noeline Taurua.

"This is a massive staging of our planning, from here we'll know what the opposition looks like but also what we need to do to improve."

And after last year's series defeat to England, the world champions admit they're not thinking about trophies come the Quad Series.

"I would like to think I'm going for it, but I also know realistically where we're at," Dame Noeline adds.

But they're sure to give the competition a run for their money.