IT TOOK 11 words for Malia Paseka's life to change completely.
Rewind to 2011 and Paseka was blissfully unaware that a comment she made to the Champion when making the NSW under-17s netball team would have the ramifications it did.
"I'd love to play for the Silver Ferns one day," the former Smithfield resident said at the time.
That comment sparked a chain of events felt across the Tasman in the Shaky Isles.
In fact, within a year of being identified by Netball New Zealand via the Champion's story, the Wellington-born shooter was back home in Auckland trading her Australian under-17s bib for the NZ secondary schools team that beat Australia.
It wasn't long before the former basketballer was saying kia ora to her new teammates in the NZ under-21s line-up.
Her rapid rise was capped off when she signed with the Northern Mystics in the trans-Tasman league — the youngest player in the whole ANZ competition.
"It all happened so quickly. One minute I'm in Australia and the next I'm back in NZ going to school. It was a great opportunity but tough at the same time to leave my family," said Paseka, who moved to Australia in 2001. "I was lucky enough to make my debut in Sydney against the Swifts which was a great experience and something I'll never forget — to play in front of family and friends, and that I played out of position in defence."
Paseka spent last week in Sydney following the under-21s World Youth Championships in Glasgow where she scored 32 goals in the 51-47 final win against Australia.
She spent last Friday watching her old school, Fairfield Heights Public School, in the final of the PSSA tournament. She also visited her old high school, Westfields Sports, to present them with her NZ uniform and hand out awards.
Next year will also be busy for her with her selection in the Silver Ferns accelerant squad and a second year in the trans-Tasman league.
And, as in 2011, her goal is: "I'd love to play for the Silver Ferns one day!"