Steel polishing a twin-edged attack, says Finch

22:50, Apr 03 2013
Phillipa Finch
TARGET SIGHTED: Southern Steel midcourter Phillipa Finch training at the Stadium Southland velodrome this week.

Southern Steel midcourter Phillipa Finch isn't too concerned about the netball naysayers who would suggest teams like the Steel are relying too much on lobbing the ball to giant Jamaican goal shoots.

Steel import Jhaniele Fowler grabbed headlines with a competition record 65 goals against the Canterbury Tactix last weekend.

The sight of the Gilbert launched on a perfect parabola from the midcourt and into the waiting arms of the Jamaican international was a regular occurrence as the Ascot Park Hotel-sponsored Steel scored a franchise record 75-56 result against the hapless Cantabrians.

Finch, who is loving having such a big target to aim at, said there was no danger of the Steel becoming a one-dimensional attacking unit with skipper and Silver Ferns goal attack Jodi Brown also in the shooting circle.

"It's quite interesting because there has been quite a bit of comment going around," Finch said.

"In saying that, Jodi is an experienced goal attack, so we aren't silly about it. If it comes to an issue where we can't reach Jhaniele, Jodi can shoot from anywhere as well. We've got options, that's for sure. She's an asset, Jhaniele, so why not use her?"


Finch was one of a handful of players, including Brown, who headed north to the Canterbury Tactix at the outset of the trans-Tasman competition in 2008.

The amalgamation of the Otago Rebels and Southern Sting to form the Steel meant there were only so many contracts to go around.

Wendy Frew's withdrawal from the team last year to start a family created an opportunity for Finch and it's one she has taken.

Starting the 2013 season, it looked as though her lot might be as a dependable bench player behind Shannon Francois but, after replacing the New Zealand under-21 player at halftime in the opening round loss to the Queensland Firebirds, Finch was favoured at centre in the second round win. That game snapped an 11-game losing streak which stretched back to the third round of the 2012 season.

Not surprisingly, there's been more of a bounce in the step of the Steel players at training this week, and it was a win which was particularly satisfying for Finch, coming against her old team.

A win is one thing - the focus now, however, is very much of Saturday's third round game against the Adelaide Thunderbirds in Dunedin.

"It gives us a little bit of confidence, knowing that we can do it, but it's only round two so it's more like ‘tick the box and move on' and take some momentum into this weekend," Finch said. 

The Southland Times