Maria Lutua brings Fijian flair to Yorkshire Jets challenge

Yorkshire Jets shooter Maria Lutua is confident her new team can light up the Netball Superleague after signing from Fiji.

Yorkshire Jets in training at Carnegie Sports Arena. (Picture: Bruce Rollinson)

The 26-year-old, who has achieved 52 caps for her country, is looking forward to her return to England, following a spell with Surrey six years ago.

“I am very excited to be playing in England again and feel privileged for the opportunity,” she said.

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“All the teams are looking strong, but we hope we can have an even better season because we are stronger now.”

After losing six players to rival teams in the league during the off-season, Anna Carter’s Jets – who reached the final four last year – required top-class players to retain that standard ahead of a season that begins next Saturday.

And that is exactly what they have signed in Lutua.

In 2010, the Fijian was given the opportunity to play a season at Surrey and enjoys the European style.

“The intensity and speed of the game goes up every season,” she explains.

Lutua has been encouraged to see other international players signing for Yorkshire Jets, such as Sophie Halpin from Australia and Vanes-Mari du Toit from South Africa.

“The standard of netball in the Pacific is different,” added Lutua, who represented her country in the last two World Cups. “There is a different style and a different standard to England.

“Playing in my second World Cup was challenging, but exciting, the standard goes up another level each time.”

In Singapore in 2011, the Pacific islanders narrowly missed out on a quarter-final spot after they were defeated by New Zealand.

In Sydney 2015, the vice-captain and her side were unable to progress into the first eight.