Silver Fern Casey Kopua announces retirement

Publish Date
Friday, 15 March 2019, 7:08PM

Silver Ferns legend Casey Kopua is set to hang up her black dress once more - and this time it's for good.

Kopua announced on Friday that she will call time on her 17-season netball career at the end of this year's ANZ Premiership season.

And although a retirement in 2015 didn't stop the 33-year-old from making a shock return to both domestic and international netball, Kopua was adamant that this year was her last.

"I know I retired internationally before and at that time it was the right thing to do ... [but] I'm happy with the decision," Kopua said.

"This next six months is the biggest six months for me because after that, that's it. The only difference is this time it's for good. My mind is willing, but my body isn't."

Keen to finish her career on a high, Kopua said her pending retirement from the Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic wouldn't affect her commitment to playing in July's Netball World Cup but was yet to decide what the future held for her involvement in the sport.

"In my mind, unless I'm injured I'm going to be at that World Cup and I'll do anything I can during ANZ [Premiership] to put my hand up for that," she said.

"It's just about getting my engines better, getting stronger, faster and just trying to get that game time under my belt before the World Cup.

"I'd like to take my time, don't go straight back into netball, just enjoy the family time as well and then figure out after that which path or options we might take."

Kopua has only ever played for the Magic, joining the team as a teenager in 2003. She has been the rock of the team's defence since, becoming one of the sport's top defenders.

With Magic, Kopua won two National Bank Cup titles, an ANZ Championship title and two ANZ Championship New Zealand conference titles.

Magic head coach Amigene Metcalfe, who has known Kopua as a team-mate and as a player under her charge, described Kopua as the embodiment of the Magic culture and ethos.

"Casey is certainly synonymous with Magic Netball and it's with great pride I've been able to watch her growth as a team-mate, coach and friend," Metcalfe said.

"From early on it was obvious to see her potential but what she has given to netball in the region, nationally and internationally has been huge. She is a true competitor, a loyal team member and I'm sure she'll be determined to make this year her best one yet."

Netball Waikato Bay of Plenty Chief Executive Rohan West also paid tribute to Kopua.

"Casey is Magic and Magic is Casey. She's a living legend. It's as simple as that. The history and legacy of this team wouldn't be what it is without her. It's been an absolute pleasure working with her," he said.

"The phrase Mana Wahine could have been coined for Casey. I strongly urge all Magic supporters, and general sports fans, to come to our home games this season to see Casey in action one last time. I'm not sure we'll see the likes of her again for many years, if ever."