The Trident Homes Tactix welcome back Jane Watson for the 2023 ANZ Premiership, with the world class defender looking forward to stepping back on the netball court.

The new mum, who gave birth to daughter Tia last month, returns to the defensive circle next year and will team up with Karin Burger and Kate Lloyd who are both back for another campaign with the Tactix.

Watson, the ANZ Premiership player of the year in 2017 and 2020, said she hadn’t found it too hard sitting on the side-lines this year but felt ready to get back into the action and was “super-excited” about what lay ahead.

“Being pregnant quite early on, I accepted I wouldn’t be playing so I actually enjoyed a change in focus and was able to watch the games as a spectator most the time,” she said.  “Of course it was hard to not notice things and be analytical about what could be done at times.

“I feel like I’ve got a wee spark that’s been ignited and I’m just really looking forward to getting back on court.  I also can’t wait to have Tia down on the court with me after games.”

Watson, who has 52 Test Caps for the Silver Ferns and was a part of the World Championship-winning team in 2019, said she was looking forward to seeing what the new-look Tactix side could do in the 2023 ANZ Premiership.

“It’s always a hard time of the year knowing that the team will change, and I will miss having the other girls around.  In saying that, change can always be good and uncomfortable at the same time and maybe this is what we need to grow and be a real force to be reckoned with next year.”

She and Burger were a formidable combination in their first season together in 2021 and while Tactix coach Marianne Delaney-Hoshek said it would be exciting to see the duo back together, she felt she had a number of options in her defensive unit.

“I believe the potential down that end is enormous because of the diversity that each player brings,” she said.  “We have an established duo in Jane and Karin, and with Kate in the mix we have the choice of Karin sliding across to wing defence.”

She said the inclusion of new Tactix recruit Greer Sinclair would add yet another dynamic to the defensive unit with the former Stars defender also able to play in the circle.

“It certainly means we can change things up depending on our game plan and our opponent – I can’t wait to see what this defensive unit has to offer.”

Delaney-Hoshek also acknowledged the impact that Watson’s return would have for the side.

“It’s huge,” she said.  “In terms of her experience, she’s world class.  Obviously, Jane is coming back from having a baby, so we have to make sure we’re looking after her.”

The Tactix coach had been impressed with how squad members had stood up during the defender’s season away.

“One of the good things about this year, with her absence from the court, is we’ve developed a lot more leadership within other people in the team, so I think that can only be good for our team moving forward – other people have had to find their voice and that is a real positive.”

The Trident Homes Tactix will name their training partners for the 2023 ANZ Premiership at a later date.

Trident Homes Tactix signings – defence:  Karin Burger, Kate Lloyd, Jane Watson.