Steel in the pink after change to strip
'We women like to have options in our wardrobe'NATHAN BURDON
Superstition or style choice - Steel fans might get to see a lot more of their team's new magenta playing dress.
The outfit was first unveiled during the Southern Steel's win over the Mystics in Auckland and the players enjoyed wearing the magenta so much that they wanted to wear it in front of their home fans during Monday's win over the Waikato/Bay of Plenty Magic.
Now, with two wins from two starts, the dress is starting to take on the same superstitious role as the moustache the team's strength and conditioning coach Simon Jones grew during last season's run of four straight wins.
Designed by Netball South events manager Sonya Fleming, the magenta strip is officially the franchise's "clash" dress, to be used when Steel's traditional blue clashes with the opposition and could make life difficult for broadcasters, spectators, officials or players.
It replaces the Steel's old clash dress, which was a rather drab grey number.
"We wanted to develop an alternative strip which reflected the vibrant nature of our Steel team, while staying true to the region we represent, so it was important to bring in some maroon and blue tones," Fleming said.
"The decision on which dress to wear is ultimately driven by the players themselves and made on a game-by-game basis with approval from TTNL."
As an aside, the Steel were forced to wear pink bibs during their home game against the Mystics because the Auckland team's clash dress was actually closer to the Steel's blue outfit than their normal playing strip.
Steel marketing and commercial manager Kate Buchanan said the players would make the call on what they wanted to wear for the remainder of this season.
"We are women, we like to have options in our wardrobe," Buchanan said.
"Style is important to female athletes, not as important as winning, but it is important."
Steel defender Erena Mikaere was relaxed about what she wore on court.
"I do like the magenta dress but I also like the tried-and-true blue."
The Ascot Park Hotel-sponsored team would need to approach Trans-Tasman Netball League officials if they were planning a more permanent colour change, with a possible clash with the Adelaide Thunderbirds, who play in pink.
The Steel have the bye this weekend before games against the Tactix in Dunedin and Vixens in Invercargill.
- The Southland Times