Netball: Return of defender Michaela Sokolich-Beatson from injury inspires Silver Ferns for Nations Cup

The Silver Ferns have jetted off to England for what's expected to be a tough Netball Nations Cup, starting next week. 

Eleven-test defender Michaela Sokolich-Beatson is all smiles, rejoining the team after recovering from injury.  

Her comeback has given the team some extra motivation.  

Michaela Sokolich-Beatson calling shots for the Mystics.
Michaela Sokolich-Beatson calling shots for the Mystics. Photo credit: Photosport

"I think it was 2018, someone told me, and I was, like, 'Whoa, that's a really long time ago'," she told Newshub.

Beatson is a familiar fit in this group, but severe Achilles injuries mean she hasn't worn the black dress for five years.  

"Her coming back from two massive injuries in regard to her Achilles just depicts the type of lady, her workload, her training ethic," said coach Dame Noeline Taurua. 

"My build-up to come back to the black is gradual," said Beatson. "I've had a few seasons in the ANZ Premiership, so i definitely feel ready." 

Since 2020, she has been on a carefully managed programme that saw her bounce back as a standout player for Northern Mystics and don a black dress - of sorts - to captain New Zealand at last year's Fast Five series.  

"Fast Five was so good and quite a few of those girls that are here did Fast Five, so we've already got a connection," said Beatson.  

Dame Noeline also believes Sokolich-Beatson's remarkable return gives team-mates something extra to play for.

"It gives the opportunity for all players to look at somebody else and their commitment to want to wear the Silver Fern," she said. "Sometimes, you can take things without consciously, for granted."  

Nothing will be taken for granted next Saturday.

"We have a new generation of players, some quite young, but that doesn't stop us from thinking we are going out there to play to win," said Taurua. "That's what comes with being a Silver Fern." 

This Silver Fern couldn't be more ready for the challenge.