MATCH PREVIEW: (Round 13) STARS v STEEL
Pride is on the line for the Northern Stars and coach Kiri Wills, in her first season with the franchise, will want to finish the season on a high. Taking down the Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel would certainly send a statement that the Stars will be a team to watch next year.
They showed against Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse that they could match it with the league leaders but lost their way in the second half. Captain and wing Grace Kara believed they performed well in patches but needed a full 60 minutes to challenge on the scoreboard.
“It’s singing the same song, just that consistency to get us over the line isn’t there,” she said after their loss to the Pulse. Despite sitting last on the ladder the Stars have a big driver to perform, playing their final game in front of a home crowd.
“To be able to get the win is going to be a hard ask but I think we’re up for it and certainly in front of a home crowd, that’s what they deserve,” she said.
Meanwhile, Steel coach Reinga Bloxham may look to use her entire bench for the match – having already sewn up the Elimination Final – as they look to keep legs fresh for a big week ahead.
WHO TO WATCH:
Kate Burley (Stars) – may have to make way for the height of Olivia Coughlan but has certainly been one of the Stars stand out players this season. She started her year in the Beko Netball League but has made her mark in the ANZ Premiership.
Maia Wilson (Stars) versus Courtney Elliott (Steel) – the young Stars shooter has been in sublime form in recent weeks but faces a stern test against the mobile and athletic Elliott. The Steel defender has been the find of the season for the southerners after receiving a late call-up.
Gina Crampton (Steel) – her link with Jen O’Connell has steadily grown this season and the speedy wing attack must have the Silver Ferns selection at the back of her mind. Leads the ANZ Premiership for centre pass receives after 12 rounds.