Tania Dalton has found herself in high demand during the past week with SOS calls for a replacement shooter coming from two ANZ Championship franchises.
Dalton trained with the Northern Mystics on Thursday and, with their shooter Paula Griffin forced out of last night's match against the New South Wales Swifts, they had been hoping Dalton would step into the breach.
Instead, Dalton warmed the Southern Steel bench for its game against the Melbourne Vixens on Saturday, stepping in for the injured Megan Dehn and enjoying what she called the "perfect scenario" with Steel winning, Dalton not required on court and a new star born in Julianna Naoupu.
However, at one stage it looked as though she might have been needed, when Naoupu grabbed a knee and looked like she was hurting.
"I went and put a bib on just in case ... I was thinking 'oh my God', I don't need this!" Dalton laughed yesterday.
If she had been needed it's likely she would have fitted in just fine, having played club netball in Auckland recently and slotted in goals pre-match at Stadium Southland as if she'd never left.
It would have been a popular move with the Southland crowd, who cheered loudly when Dalton ran out on court before the match.
"I just about had tears in my eyes when I ran out ... it was very, very cool. But I'm glad I didn't have to go on, it wasn't about me, I've had my time in the sun." It was also a very rushed inclusion, but a decision Dalton said was easy.
She was in the supermarket on Friday when told to get on the 5 o'clock plane.
Dalton was supposed to be in Invercargill commentating on the game for Sky Television. She said Sky was "really good" about her being a little closer than usual to the action.
The chance to help out Steel was simply something she couldn't say no to.
"I have lived with Rob (Steel coach Robyn Broughton) for five years and I have to say she's like a mum to me, I'd do anything for her.
She's given me so much love for the game and I couldn't say no to her. I guess you could say my loyalties are down there." Whether Dalton will return to the squad for Monday night's game in Dunedin should be made today.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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