Double header could define Sharks' season
Southland Sharks coach Paul Henare admits to a little bit of cross-code envy ahead of a double-header weekend that could define his team's season.
Henare read a Southland Times report this week about the Southern Steel netball team selling out tomorrow's game against the Magic almost a week early.
The two franchises occupy different parts of the Stadium Southland offices, but they are both trending upwards on a run of wins that has lifted the mood significantly around Surrey Park.
Henare would love to see the sold out"" sign posted outside a Zero Fees Sharks game at the velodrome one day.
"The numbers have been good, we are starting to get some bums on seats.
"A little bit of a competitive streak came out in me this week when I saw the ‘sold out' sign come out for the Steel. I was like ‘man, it would be great if both clubs could do that'. [Steel] are doing a great job with how they are performing."
Like Steel, the Sharks sit just outside the top four, although they have a game or more in hand over three of the teams above them on the national league ladder.
The Taranaki Mountain Airs are a team Henare respects, a team better than their two-win, four-loss record suggests.
Jack Leasure has a reputation as one of the best shooters in the competition and fellow import Kenny Gabriel has been producing impressive numbers, along with solid contributions from the likes of Link Abrams and Aaron Bailey-Nowell.
The Sharks head to Dunedin on Sunday to take on the unbeaten Otago Nuggets, a game that could, even at this early stage of the competition, help shape the makeup of the playoffs.
"Our sole and only focus this week has been against Taranaki," Henare said.
"You just set yourself up for failure if you look too far ahead and look at the other opposition."
The Sharks haven't talked about the Nuggets, and the scouting reports and videos on the competition frontrunners won't be presented to the players until tomorrow.
Henare has had a full squad of healthy players at training this week, a strong position to be in ahead of two games in three days.
"It's an old sporting cliche that you have to take every game one at a time, every game is important," Henare said.
"This game is no different. Taranaki . . . actually put themselves in a position where they could have beaten Nelson and Wellington. It's a very important game for us in that we just have to keep focusing on ourselves and keep improving."
And who knows, a few more wins and maybe the Sharks will need to borrow that ‘sold out' sign.
- © Fairfax NZ News