Finch confident of taking down Magic

SWITCH IN FOCUS: Midcourter Phillipa Finch has called time on her stint with the Southern Steel.
SWITCH IN FOCUS: Midcourter Phillipa Finch has called time on her stint with the Southern Steel.

Phillipa Finch doesn't like the word mongrel, but you'd struggle to find a more competitive player in the trans-Tasman league.

''I've got that real determination, that want to win,'' the Southern Steel midcourter said.

That desire is why she believes the Ascot Park Hotel-sponsored team can beat the Magic in Hamilton on Monday night, despite starting the game as a heavy underdog.

The Magic have hosted the Steel six times - in Hamilton, Rotorua and Tauranga - since the start of the trans-Tasman league, and have won all six times.

Nine of the 13 games between the two teams have gone the way of the Hamilton-based team.

''Any team is beatable on the day. I've definitely got the confidence that we can beat them,'' Finch said.

''Obviously they've got a pretty formidable defensive unit so we need to break that down. They are starting to get good connections in their shooting-midcourt area so it's also making sure that we shut that down as well.''

The 32-year-old was in good form for the Steel last year, earning herself a Silver Ferns trial in the process.

It was impressive stuff for a player who began her professional career with the Otago Rebels in 2001.

People often remark that she must be one of the fittest players in the team, but she describes herself as only ''mid-range''.

''I suppose it's probably that game sense. You can be as fit as you like but when it comes to a game you've got to have that mental ability and that speed to incorporate it into a game and I suppose that's what I have.

''I can't beat Shannon Francois in a beep test but if I go out and play a good solid game, I'm happy with that.''

Having been handed a lifeline when Wendy Frew withdrew from the Steel in 2012 to start a family, Finch has no plans to retire.

''I suppose oldness becomes wiseness. I went out to enjoy the game, which is what I did last year, and I suppose that was part of my strengths. Hopefully I can continue that this year,'' she said.

''There's not that major pressure of making a Silver Ferns squad, which some players have, so I'm just going out there wanting to win, but without that pressure.''

The Southland Times