Southern Steel aim to topple northern foe
What do you do when a team produces one of its best results in the history of the franchise?
Hopefully, you go out and do it again.
Southern Steel will look to back up Sunday's maiden win on Australian soil, a fine 61-59 win over defending champions the Adelaide Thunderbirds, with another quality performance against the Northern Mystics at ILT Stadium Southland tomorrow.
The Janine Southby-coached team's second win of the season has lifted it into the middle of the pack and within reaching distance of the top four.
While it would be nice to pull a performance from the same box, the Thunderbirds win came from, sport usually doesn't work that way.
''You obviously have to tweak parts of your game plan because you come up against opponents that have different strengths and different styles,'' Southby said.
''Mostly it's about us getting better about what we do. That's been partly what we've seen over the past couple of weeks - they've got better at looking out for each other on attack and being really patient.''
Beating the best team in the competition on their own home court, especially when they were on the rebound from their first loss in 17 games, means this Steel team has the goods to beat any team in the league.
''It's a new game this week and you can't dwell on it because otherwise you'll be left in last week,'' Southby said.
Once again, and it seems to happen every week, the Ascot Park Hotel-sponsored Steel will come up against an international shooting pairing in Maria Tutaia and Cathrine Latu.
With Jhaniele Fowler-Reid rediscovering her form in Adelaide, it could well be Steel's ability to choke the ball at the other end of the court that will reward them with a third win.
''They are starting to play some really nice netball, so we are under no illusions as to how hard it's going to be,'' Southby said of the Mystics' shooting end.
''Last week I thought our midcourt controlled the pace of the ball well and they were very strategic in when they put ball into [Fowler-Reid] and we've got Jodi [Brown] playing a reasonably dominant role as well, both in her shooting and with her feeding. We need all those people to keep getting better and stepping up, because the opposition will be targeting areas they see a weakness in us.''
The middle of the competition table is a tight race, with each week forcing a reshuffle.
''I think there are a number of teams in the same position as us, a number of New Zealand teams particularly that have had a couple of wins, shown patches of good form but haven't been really consistent,'' Southby said.
''We'll be looking to take each other out over the next couple of weeks.''
Steel don't need to be reminded they are yet to win in the rebuilt Southland stadium after a heavy loss to the Firebirds in round one.
The timing couldn't be better to tick that box and find some consistency in the process.
The Southland Times