Names synonymous with the all-conquering Sting phenomenon will take to the court against the Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel in Balclutha on Saturday.
Former Silver Ferns captains Belinda Colling and Lesley Rumball will reunite with Sting stalwarts Tania Dalton and Jenny Ferguson in an invitational side recruited specifically to provide netball smart opposition for the 2012 edition of the southern franchise.
With Steel's own Wendy Frew at the helm as coach, the team has been further bolstered by the inclusion of former Otago Rebels midcourter Megan Graamans (nee Brown) and the physical presence of New Zealand Men's defenders Victor Godsmark-White, Jamie Brown and former national representatives Ryan Fitzgerald and Blair Ingram.
Frew, who is expecting her first child and withdrew from the Steel team in January, admitted it would be "strange" coaching the opposition after over a decade representing both the Sting and Steel franchises.
"It will be a strange feeling coaching a team with the aim of beating the Steel but given the history of all the players involved in this invitational side, I'm sure our competitive natures will get the better of us once we step onto the court," she said.
"We've been invited to provide tough opposition for the Steel and I'm hoping we will be able to deliver exactly that despite not playing together as a unit before. There are a lot of wise netball heads in this group so combating that will be great experience, particularly for some of the younger Steel players."
The Steel will play against the Otago/Southland Lois Muir Challenge team on Saturday morning at 9.30am before meeting the invitational side at 12.30pm. Both games will be played at the Cross Recreation Centre in Balclutha, with ticket proceeds used to purchase sporting equipment for the new facility.
The Steel opens its 2012 ANZ Championship campaign on home turf against the Waikato/Bay of Plenty Magic in Invercargill on Monday, April 2.
- The Southland Times