Triumph for our golden shooter: Bundy girl's World Cup glory
NETBALL: Bundaberg's Ameliaranne Ekenasio is in the best form of her life according to someone who knows her very well.
Ekenasio became the latest Rum City product to win a world title, helping New Zealand to win the Netball World Cup after a 52-51 win over Australia on Monday morning.
She scored 24 goals from 26 attempts including the last goal of the game for the Kiwis to hand the nation its fifth title.
But the success for the 28-year-old comes as no surprise to her former coach Sandy Baker.
Baker coached Ekenasio when she played for The Waves as a junior and during her representative career in the region as well.
The Kiwi was born and raised in the Rum City before moving to Brisbane as a teenager to play for the Queensland Firebirds.
She could have represented Australia but chose the New Zealand path, which she is eligible for through her father, after signing with the Central Pulse for the ANZ Championship.
She has remained at the club since.
"I was up watching the whole game, I was not missing that,” Baker said.
"I was going for New Zealand, I hate to say it.
"I love how well she played, I'm always patriotic (for Australia) but I was happy for her.”
Ekenasio player her role in the semi and the final as well, missing just three shots out of the 52 she took in both games.
Baker said her performances were the best she'd seen from the former St Luke's Anglican School student.
"The semi was the best game I've ever seen her play,” she said.
"She took control in that game.”
Baker said the strengths of her shooting in the finals were built on the courts of Bundaberg.
She added Ekenasio's way of getting to the top should inspire other young netballers to achieve their goals.
"She shoots high and clean with the ball going straight in and not touching the ring,” Baker said.
"She used to practice 200 shots a day at the courts at Kendalls Flat.
"She would practice every day and she's done that for years, she had to practice a lot to get better.”
Ekenasio has been part of a team that has gone from fourth at last year's Commonwealth Games to world champions.
Baker said the team transformation was amazing.
"It's a lot to do with their coach (Noeline Taurua),” Baker said.
"She bought back a few older ones and did a hard training regime under a strict routine.”
Ekenasio is now expected to take a break before the new season of New Zealand netball starts next year.