Mikaere sees Steel move as 'the right fit'
Southern Steel have missed out on bringing Silver Fern Leana de Bruin back to Invercargill, but they have managed to add height to their defensive lineup.
Steel have signed 1.93m Magic defender Erena Mikaere, leaving on two more places on the roster leading up to the September 30 deadline.
Steel chief executive Sue Clarke confirmed de Bruin had been approached.
"We would have liked to have had Leana here but, due to family commitments and wanting to stay with the Magic, she declined our offer."
Steel have not approached Sulu Tone-Fitzpatrick, who had an impressive season with the franchise.
Mikaere, who spent three seasons playing behind de Bruin and Ferns captain Casey Kopua, was excited about experiencing the Steel culture.
"I've definitely grown as a player and a person by being their team-mate. I've learned a lot of their tricks over the years," she said.
"I had a few discussions with key people that influence my netball career and we wanted to make the best decision for the goals I want to achieve. Steel felt like the right fit for that."
Mum to 3-year-old daughter Bileigh and completing her final year of a teaching degree, Mikaere said living in Invercargill also held an appeal.
"I lost my grandfather recently and he reminds me a lot of Burt Munro. I love the World's Fastest Indian movie so I'm sure being in Invercargill will invoke some fond memories," she said.
Mikaere will join the experienced Rachel Rasmussen and New Zealand under-21 representatives Storm Purvis and Phoenix Karaka in the defensive mix. Shannon Francois, Wendy Frew and Phillipa Finch have been signed for the midcourt, with Stacey Peeters and Gina Crampton possibly scrapping for the final place.
Peeters' impressive showing at the World Youth Championships may have helped boost her stocks.
Steel are also in the market for another shooter, to join Silver Fern Jodi Brown, Jamaican international Jhaniele Fowler and New Zealand Under-21 star Te Paea Selby-Rickit. That position could be firmed up next week.
- © Fairfax NZ News