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Rising star . . . Oamaru netballer Taneisha Fifita (16) looks forward to spending time with the Southern Steel after being named as a training partner for the national premiership season. PHOTO: DANIEL BIRCHFIELD

Taneisha Fifita has two goals in mind – to one day represent the Southern Steel and Silver Ferns.

The 16-year-old Oamaru netballer is certainly heading in the right direction to achieve the former of those goals.

She was recently confirmed as one of three Steel training partners by head coach Reinga Bloxham for the ANZ Premiership.

And, just last week, she was the only player from Netball South to be named in the New Zealand secondary schools squad.

A final schools team will be named after the national age group championships in July to prepare for games against Australia under-17 in Canberra in September.

With mainstays Shannon Francois and Te Paea Selby-Rickit likely to be absent during parts of the pre-season due to Silver Fern commitments, the Steel training partners have an important role to play.

Fifita, who represented Netball South in the second-tier Beko League last year, said the news she would be linking with the defending champion Steel came as a shock, albeit a welcome one.

“To be honest, I was surprised they chose me. I’ve worked really hard and they think that I deserve it,”she said.

Fifita, a year 12 pupil at Waitaki Girls’ High School, believed spending an extended period with the squad would do wonders for her fledgling career.

“I am hoping that I can learn new things at that higher level of netball and probably improve my fitness too. It’s a higher level than I am normally in.”

The 185cm defender was a standout for Waitaki Girls’ High School Lightning Strike in last year’s club competition, which earned her selection for the North Otago under-19 team that contested the New Zealand age group championships in July.

She was also part of the North Otago team that won the Hanan Shield tournament – which also featured South and Mid Canterbury – in Ashburton in August.

Fifita most recently attended a national secondary schools netball camp in the North Island, the only player from North Otago to be invited.

She said her goal now was to break into the Steel squad, and from there, stake a claim for higher honours.

With age, talent and drive on her side, there’s no reason that can’t happen.

“It’s one of my goals – to play at those levels,” Fifita said.