Samoa netball coach Marcia Hardcastle believes the future is bright for her players after achieving a top ten finish at the World Cup.
The Samoans were beaten by Trinidad and Tobago in the playoff for ninth place yesterday, having stunned Pacific rivals Fiji a day earlier.
Marcia Hardcastle says that result meant a lot against a team that had got the better of them in the Oceania Series in January and at last month's Pacific Games.
"I think that's been a long-standing between the two countries: they haven't beaten Fiji probably for about eight or ten years. We managed to change our bench to what we needed out there so we took a while to get in front but once we got there we stayed in there so it was probably halfway in the third quarter, still teetering a bit, but the last quarter was a different level so credit to the girls really".
She says Samoa started the tournament slowly - losing all three of their first round pool games - and had to manage a few injuries but continued to improve game by game.
"It's probably given them a good stepping stone. There is a couple of retirements but I think the country is in good stead for the opportunity for other players to put their hands up and actually come and trial for their country and be proud that they're playing Samoa. They're not the richest of countries - we've struggled through our tournaments funding-wise and we just try and keep our camps to minimum, so the girls have to work and not take so much time off. We've managed to do that over the past four years and the team has changed incredibly but I think this is a good step for Samoa going forward".
Marcia Hardcastle says Opheira Harder Karatau, Natalie Jones and Nicolette Tato have signalled they will be retiring but she hopes the team's efforts in Sydney will lead to more players wanting to play for Samoa.