Southern Steel coach Robyn Broughton is delighted with the mix of players revealed in yesterday's Southern Steel squad announcement.
There's youth, there's experience, but most of all there's a heap of talent — so much so it's hard to pick a starting seven from the 12 names, which include former Silver Ferns captain Adine Wilson, dual international netball and basketball player Donna Wilkins and Silver Fern Sheryl Scanlan.
At wing defence alone there are three Silver Ferns — Scanlan, Erika Burgess and Wendy Telfer. "People will stake their claim (on positions)," Broughton said yesterday.
"They're all professionals, that's what they expect." Broughton was pleased that the bulk of this year's Steel players had stayed on with the franchise, particularly after they built consistently as this year's season wore on and achieved some pleasing results.
"We had a really good season last season and a lot of them took big steps up. To get Donna and Adine back is a real bonus, especially as they have been such stalwarts of the Sting and have played such amazing netball," Broughton said.
"So with them and the basis of the Steel from last season, it's really good." New Zealand under-21 players Julianna Naoupu and Te Huinga Reo Selby-Rickit are staying with Steel, while experienced Steel co-captains from this year Jenny-May Coffin and defender Megan Hutton are also back.
Missing from last year's lineup is Debbie White, who has moved to the Northern Mystics, and shooters Jess Tuki and Megan Dehn.
Broughton was pleased to welcome Scanlan into the Steel mix and was confident the team would continue to build on what was a promising season this year. "She (Scanlan) is a good, experienced person and she's well known for her team input and being part of a team, so we are very pleased to welcome her," she said.
Scanlan is moving south next year with her husband, Malcolm, and 2-year-old son Jafeth, while Wilson is also bringing her son Harper and husband Jeff back to Invercargill, at least for the netball season.
"That was part of the decision," Wilson said.
"We'll move there while the competition is running, we've got family support around us and the community as well. When Tania Dalton and Anna Galvan were down there with their kids they just had so much support.
So if we're going to do it, we've got to do it properly." Wilson and Wilkins — former Sting team-mates — were both excited about playing together again, after both taking a year out from netball — Wilson, after having her first child, Harper, in April, and Wilkins, who was Steel's assistant coach this season and is expecting her first child in December.
"I'm so excited about Donna being back in there," Wilson said.
"I love playing with Donna. And having Sheryl Scanlan part of the team as well as the Wendys, the Lianas, Daneka, Megan ... it's just so cool.
"It feels right to be playing and I'm looking forward to when the team first gets together."
- The Southland Times