The competition is as intense as Laura Langman has seen it as 25 Silver Ferns candidates battle for 12 spots at trials in Auckland this week.
Coach Waimarama Taumaunu is enhancing her reputation as a no-nonsense mentor with a series of gruelling fitness tests and trial games to weed out her best players to face world champions Australia in a three-Test series next month.
Experienced centre Langman sensed an unparalleled air of competition compared to other pre-season trials, although the intensity disappeared once the bibs were taken off.
"It's tough work and it's competitive but everyone wants everyone to succeed," she told NZ Newswire.
"If someone doesn't have a great morning, you're seeing them come back and have a big afternoon to stamp their mark."
It is 3-1/2 weeks since Langman's Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic won the ANZ Championship - becoming the first champion team from New Zealand - and for other players it has been even longer since they threw a ball in anger.
Langman said the rust had quickly disappeared.
"The first trial game we had was a little bit frantic, the speed was certainly up there," she said.
"But then when we came to the afternoon, everyone had calmed down and blown out the cobwebs.
"Everyone's in really good shape and these games are showing it."
Langman said there had been no focus on the Australian squad named over the weekend, nor on tactics to counter them.
The four-day camp finishes on Thursday.Coach Waimarama Taumaunu and the new selection panel of Margaret Forsyth, Raewyn Henry, Jo Morrison and Gael Nagaiya will unveil their squad on Monday next week for Tests against Australia on September 16 (Melbourne), 20 (Auckland) and 23 (Christchurch).