2020 Season Preview: The Good Oil Tactix
Beset by injuries last year, a palpable sense of excited anticipation is filtering out of The Good Oil Tactix for the 2020 ANZ Premiership and with good cause.
With Silver Ferns shooter Te Paea Selby-Rickit joining the ranks this year and the return from serious knee injuries of dynamic defender Temalisi Fakahokotau and creative midcourter Erikana Pedersen, the Tactix have assembled a well-balanced and highly-talented team.
“On paper, it’s probably one of the strongest teams that we’ve had but then there’s the challenge that you don’t just work on that fact alone,” Tactix coach Marianne Delaney-Hoshek said.
“It’s making sure that we do all the hard work as a team, and doing all that we can to be as good as we can be. It’s all there but it’s about what we do with it.
“The likes of (midcourters) Kimi (Poi) and Charlotte (Elley), they were quite young a couple of years ago but they’re really starting to mature as players as is (shooter) Ellie (Bird) who is just getting better each year. That excites me too, just the growth that we’ve had with individuals. It’s exciting on paper but we’ve got to put the work in.”
After spending her whole career – nine seasons – with the Southern Steel, the experienced Selby-Rickit’s move north is set to add stability and accuracy to the Tactix attacking line.
“I’m hoping she’ll add that bit more consistency and experience,” Delaney-Hoshek said.
“At times in the past we’ve struggled down our attack in getting the ball cleanly through, so I hoping she’s going to add that.”
Fakahokotau missed all of last season while Pedersen followed a similar pattern after being side-lined immediately after the first round for the remainder of 2019.
“They’ve still got some work to do through until the start of the season but they’re both on court and playing match games which is fantastic, so both are tracking well to be good to go.
“Last year was a big learning around making sure that we’ve got the next cab off the rank coming through when injuries occur.”
Coming into the fourth edition of the competition, the Tactix coach has no doubts that standards continue to rise and the effectiveness of developing homegrown talent and relying less on imports is a real positive. With Selby-Rickit on board, the Tactix felt they had a good enough team without having to look for an import.
Apart from keeping everyone injury-free and healthy, the Tactix key word for 2020 is consistency.
“Last year we slipped a little bit in those games where the score was close, so if we can be consistent across not only the game but across the competition then you’re always going to be in a good position.”
The coach has welcomed this year’s restructured draw where games will be played on Sundays and Mondays.
“It means we can have an extra training a week, so over a whole season having that extra training a week is going to have an impact on the quality and the skill level and that’s going to be the same across all teams.”
The Good Oil Tactix 2020:
Ellie Bird, Charlotte Elley, Temalisi Fakahokotau, Sophia Fenwick, Samon Nathan, Erikana Pedersen, Kimiora Poi, Jess Prosser, Te Paea Selby-Rickit, Jane Watson.