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Steel sign Jamaican defender

Steel sign Jamaican defender

Jamaican defender Malysha Kelly will join the defensive ranks of defending champions, the Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel for the 2018 ANZ Premiership.

Announced by the Steel on Friday afternoon, she will be joined by NZU21s defender Abby Erwood and shooter Jennifer O’Connell to round out their roster.

For Kelly, it’s an opportunity to add new skills to an already extensive repertoire.

“I’ve always wanted to learn to play the New Zealand style as a defender. To me, it is the most attractive one … I find it quite intriguing,” Kelly said.

“I watched all of Jhaniele’s games last season and I watched Steel’s defensive unit work together and it was very impressive.

“I’ve always wanted to be on top of my game so getting that exposure and getting into the New Zealand environment is very important to me.”

A stalwart of the Jamaican squad since 2008, Kelly competed at Netball World Cup Singapore 2011 and has a bronze medal from the 2014 Commonwealth Games to her credit. She’s no stranger to plying her Netball trade globally after recent campaigns with the Adelaide Thunderbirds in Australia’s domestic league and the Manchester Thunder in the UK’s Superleague.

She wasn’t daunted by the shift to Invercargill. In fact, it already had a familiar feel given Kelly’s close friendship with shooter Jhaniele Fowler-Reid, who spend the past five seasons with the Steel.

“Jhaniele was the first person I spoke with about it. She was telling me what the culture was like and her experience and that’s when I began putting my mind around it,” she said.

“I’m looking forward to building relationships with the girls. I feel like I know a few of them already just based on what Jhaniele has told me over the years. I’m excited to come over and have my own experience.”

The Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel’s 2018 roster is: Te Paea Selby-Rickit, Te Huinga Reo Selby-Rickit, Malysha Kelly, Abby Erwood, Jennifer O’Connell, Shannon Francois, Wendy Frew, Gina Crampton, Oliva Bates and Dani Gray.