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Lloyd to let out her inner tiger

When Kate Lloyd saw Kiri Wills’ number pop up on her phone, she never thought she’d be getting the call-up to the NZU21 team for Netball World Youth Cup Gaborone 2017.

Just the night before she had been watching the Te Wānanga o Raukawa v Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel ANZ Premiership match on TV, and heard the commentator’s mention the NZU21s would be announced the next day.

Thinking nothing of it at the time, Lloyd answered the call the following day…

“I was completely surprised. I had no idea it was even coming,” Lloyd said.

“It didn’t even cross my mind that I’d be one of the lucky ones; I was crying on the phone, I couldn’t believe it.”

Telling her mum that she’d just been selected to play for New Zealand was met with tears of joy too.

“Mum was very shocked, she was crying with me; they’re very proud of me. This year, my Netball life has skyrocketed and I’m grateful for every opportunity,” she said.

“It means everything to me – it’s a dream come true. I was disappointed when I didn’t make the Fiji squad, but I worked my butt off during the year and got noticed.

“I’m really happy that I’ve now got the opportunity to play for NZ.”

The 192cm defender from Ashburton has been plying her trade with Hellers Netball Mainland during the Beko Netball League, as well as a handful of appearances with the Silvermoon Tactix in the ANZ Premiership.

Now, she can add the NZU21 team to her list of achievements.

“I had to google Africa and Botswana, because I didn’t know much about them. I haven’t really travelled much out of New Zealand bar to Australia a few times so I’m really looking forward to it,” Lloyd said.

“I’ve worked really hard on my strength. I was always a little skinny girl that got pushed around the court, but this year I’ve worked hard in the gym.

“Kiri always tells me to let out my inner tiger, so I think I’ve got a bit more aggressive.”

You can follow the progress of the NZU21s on their road to Botswana via their Online Hub. Here you’ll find news, profiles, fixture info and results - click here.