Storm Purvis gathers strength, eyes direction

STORM SEASON: Southern Steel defenders Storm Purvis, left, and Phoenix Karaka.
STORM SEASON: Southern Steel defenders Storm Purvis, left, and Phoenix Karaka.

Hopefully Southern Steel netball fans will get to see a bit more of Storm Purvis.

The New Zealand under-21 captain has been one of the big movers for the team during the second half of the season, forming a promising combination with fellow circle defender Phoenix Karaka that has helped the Steel to consecutive wins over the Mystics and Magic.

The Steel emerge from their bye round to take on the Tactix in Dunedin tomorrow night.

Purvis, who has been based in Dunedin for the past three years, is considering her options for next season.

"It's that time of the year when everyone is asking you what you are doing next year and it's so hard to say just yet because contracts are up in the air," she said.

"I love it down here and I have a good relationship with the Steel. I think if [Phoenix] and I have that good combination and if we could carry on with that next year it would be great, but it just depends on what happens in the offseason."

Franchises can talk exclusively with their own players up until the trans-Tasman grand final, but Purvis' performances in recent weeks will likely have peaked interest in her.

Purvis has switched her media and English studies to Massey University to give herself more options and hopes one day to move into the media.

Commentating netball is something that appeals down the line.

Judged the best young player in the competition in her rookie season, Purvis struggled for court time last year and through the first half of this season, but those difficulties appear to be behind herw.

"It's cool to be rewarded with some court time because all four [defenders] push really hard in training to get those starting positions. It's been nice to get some good feedback about how I'm playing, and a couple of wins."

Particularly exciting is the link she's formed with Karaka.

"We first played together in under-15s in Auckland and then together in about three or four teams through high school and Auckland reps. Obviously we've had a few years off, but we played [New Zealand] under-21s as well and now with Steel," Purvis said.

"I think we really enjoy playing together and whenever we get a chance to do so we look each other in the eye and say 'yep, we need to prove we deserve to be out there'. Being a bit younger we play like we have nothing to lose, which is cool, and I'm really enjoying our combination."

Steel assistant coach Reinga Te Huia said consistency was now the challenge for Purvis and Karaka.

"Probably the key is that they are both quite confident with each other, and probably just that court time together. It's something they've maybe lacked, that consistency, because it took us a while to find a pairing. The good thing about those two is that they've got so much netball still to come. The more time you can put them out on court together, the better they'll get."

The Southland Times