Te Huia finds positives in team's early season hitout

Southland netball coach Reinga Te Huia conceded there was plenty to work on but still walked away positive from her team's hitout against Otago on Saturday.

Southland and Otago met at Balclutha in a game that was being used as a warmup fixture to the nationals, in Dunedin, from September 30 to October 4.

It was Otago who powered home to win 68-42, although Southland did keep in touch for the first half at least.

Southland trailed 16-11 at the end of the first quarter and were down by seven at the halftime break.

However, the scoreline blew out to a 20-goal lead for Otago at the third-quarter mark, which coincided with both teams making changes and giving their benches a run.

Te Huia said it was important they gave their whole squad an opportunity on Saturday.

"I used it as a training run and made sure everyone got on the court and Otago did the same," she said. "I think in the fourth quarter we had four new people on the court and the thing is at nationals the competition is such that you really do have to use your bench."

Southland's leading netballers now have a big week ahead as they are handed more preparation time in the leadup to nationals, but this time it will against world-class opposition.

On Thursday, seven players will be used for an opposed training session game against the Silver Ferns. The following day, the full squad will front for another training game against Australia.

New Zealand will play Australia in Invercargill at the SIT Zero Fees Velodrome on Sunday.

The Southland Times