Nicholas was emotional when her captaincy was revealed at the presentation of the team’s uniforms, just before the team flew out to Apia this weekend.
“Carrying the flag for the first time was unreal, a wow factor. Named captain of the squad is also definitely a highlight,” said Nicholas.
In her brief stay in Samoa, for the opening ceremony Nicholas received a check-up with national team’s physiotherapist Paul Aitu. “He said to me, this is the strongest I’ve seen you, you have many more international games to get to.”
At 36 years of age, Nicholas is still strong and fit, and has represented in international games since she was 14.
The Black Pearls have had a fast and furious campaign in preparation for the games.
“Sebon trains us well, it’s tough, this is one of the strongest teams; girls I’m going to need your backs; I’ve definitely got yours.”
Netball runs in the family, with her mother Margaret Matenga a former Silver Fern, there was no doubt Nicholas would enter the netball arena.
“I just love the sport, I’m passionate about it, these days developing the juniors is one of my goals.”
The team received their uniforms from Tinomana Munro Ariki with the executive board members present for the occasion.
Cook Islands Netball Black Pearls are: Captain Luciana Nicholas, Elena Mataora, Rochelle Teiri, Alex Iro, Ashley Iro, Lenae Tiaiti, Alanna Smith, Anania Piri, Natalia Short, Eri Short, Marty Toru and Maeva Carr.
The Cook Islands play Norfolk Island at 7pm tonight, followed by hosts Samoa tomorrow at 9.30pm.