Fingers crossed over shooter’s heart condition
Southern Steel shooter Jhaniele Fowler-Reid has trained fully this week and could start against the Central Pulse this afternoon.
Fowler-Reid was restricted by coach Janine Southby to the final two quarters against the Firebirds last Sunday because she had struggled to get through training due to a heart condition which she has had since suffering rheumatic fever as a child.
The condition came as a surprise to everyone outside of the Steel camp when she was named on the bench last Sunday but it had reportedly flared up during Jamaica’s tour of England late last year.
Southby was cagey when asked just how much of a part the towering goal shoot would play against the Pulse in the capital.
‘‘She’s been able to have a full week training, so that’s a positive,’’ Southby said.
‘‘I think she’s starting to stand up and it will just be looking for those critical signs that she’s not and if she isn’t we’ll look at changes. She needs to get out there and show us what she can do too.’’
Southby is aware that the Pulse, who are under plenty of pressure to deliver this season after opening the chequebook in the summer, will be hurting after a last-second loss to the defending champion Thunderbirds in their season opener.
‘‘I thought they played pretty much as I thought they would play, the style we’ve come to expect in their defence set-up and probably their attacking set up looked rusty at times but there were times where they had some good flow through court,’’ she said.
‘‘They’ll be disappointed with the loss, they had the opportunity to win and they didn’t do it. I guess we are going to come up against a team on the rebound.’’
Steel’s own opening performance was plagued by so many individual errors that they were never really in the hunt against the Firebirds.
For that reason, the scoreboard will be less important than the quality of performance the Ascot Park Hotel-sponsored side can put together today.
The number one improvement for Steel will be scoring from their own centre pass. Once that’s sorted, they also need to convert turnovers.
‘‘We did get enough gains last week to be in the hunt to win, but we didn’t score and that’s really crucial. Our attacking play in general has to really stand up,’’ Southby said.
The Southland Times