Steel pre-season games update
Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel coach Reinga Bloxham has hailed the pre-season trip across the ditch for games against the Sunshine Coast Lightning a success.
While they didn’t post a win against the Lightning, going down 75-49 and 56-44 – Bloxham said there were a number of positives.
“We improved dramatically and I’m really proud of what they did out on court. We won the third quarter and drew the second half and that’s no mean feat against a team the calibre of the Lightning,” Bloxham said.
“Our players like Wendy, Te Huinga and Jhaniele really enjoyed matching up against them. They need that speed and intensity – absolutely thrive on it - and it was great to watch the individual battles going on.”
While the Steel were without Silver Ferns Shannon Francois, Gina Crampton, Te Paea Selby-Rickit and Jane Watson, Bloxham said the week would prove beneficial to the team’s ANZ Premiership campaign.
It was a valuable opportunity for training partner Ngawai Eyles and Netball South development squad members Sophie Erwood, Aliyah Dunn and Dani Gray to step into the elite ranks of the Steel’s high performance environment.
“This trip was never about results for us, it was about development. Sixty percent of our team were Beko Netball League players and this was a great opportunity for them,” Bloxham said.
“For the Steel, it means if we have any injuries we now have a bunch of players we can call on who can transition easily into the team and that’s really important going forward into this new competition.”
The Steel’s opening ANZ Premiership game is against the Northern Stars at Claudelands Arena, Hamilton, on March 26 – the first of three Super Sunday events featuring all six teams in action at the same venue.