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Temalisi Fakahokotau

Saracens Mavericks‘ new signing Temalisi Fakahokotau is relishing the challenge ahead after turning her goal of playing in the Vitality Netball Superleague into a reality.

The New Zealand international arrives as the Mavericks’ replacement defensive player having most recently represented Central Pulse in her native country.

Fakahokotau only arrived in the UK on Monday but is already enjoying her time with the squad and looking forward to getting on court with her new teammates.

“I’m excited to be here,” said Fakahokotau, who has been capped 22 times for the Silver Ferns.

“Playing over on this side has always been a goal of mine, to come over and play in this league.

“I’ve been to one full session and then another session yesterday but looking at the team, obviously it’s exciting on paper but being amongst them was awesome as well.

“I’m just trying to gradually make my way back into netball after taking a couple of months off but the team really does look exciting.”

Fakahokotau arrives at the Mavericks having previously played all her netball in New Zealand, but is hoping that her move can prove to others that they can switch to the Vitality Netball Superleague.

“The league here is exciting and is growing so hopefully it does bring excitement and that players know that they can come across the world and also play in a high-performance league over here too.”

The former Mainland Tactix Team Player of the Year is also hoping to bring her own game from New Zealand to the Vitality Netball Superleague, as well as learning what the UK game has to offer.

“In New Zealand, things have picked up tremendously over there so the game is a lot faster now,” she said.

“There’s a lot of flair a lot of excitement and a lot of young guns coming through the game now back home which is great for netball, but the standard of netball has increased as well in New Zealand which is great internationally too.

“For me, it’s just coming over here trying to explore what the netball is around here, get a bit of tourism while I’m on this side of the world as well.”

Fakahokotau signs with the Mavericks in fourth place in the Vitality Netball Superleague table, just inside the play-offs on goal difference ahead of Surrey Storm, and their latest addition’s links within the side were key to her arrival.

She said: “I’ve been in contact with Kat [Kathryn Ratnapala] for a couple of years now and the timing just hasn’t been right between us.

“She hit me up about three or four weeks ago, I’d just moved back to Auckland – she messaged me out of nowhere actually which I wasn’t expecting – and it’s pretty much gone pretty quickly from there.

“I know Kadeen [Corbin] previously from New Zealand when she had come over to play in Christchurch and we’re also quite close a well so she was another factor in why I wanted to play for the Mavericks – and obviously knowing Sasha [Corbin] too.

“I know these two which has been real good and coming into the mix has been easy.”

The 27-year-old has not played for her country since 2018 when she injured her anterior cruciate ligament and says she would love to represent the Silver Ferns again but isn’t putting any pressure on herself.

“Probably the best moment that I’ve had throughout my netball career was probably my first season which was back in 2014 with the Mystics. I had made the Silver Ferns and the moment I remember is my debut for Ferns and I was named in the starting line-up so that was pretty special for me,” she added.

“It’s definitely an honour to put on a dress for your country and represent your homeland.

“I don’t know what the future holds, I’m in a place where I’m exploring what life is outside of netball, exploring this side of the world to see what netball looks like here but if I get the call then I 100% would love to be back there but I’m just going with the flow.”

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