Dynamic midcourter Phillipa Finch has opted not to return to the Southern Steel franchise next season, instead focusing on rebuilding her earthquake-stricken home in Christchurch.
"I'm at an age where I need to think about other things . . . it's just that next step that I need to take," the 32-year-old said.
"I'm a never-say-never type of person so you never know, I might be out on the netball court again one day."
After living in Balclutha during the past three seasons, Finch is eager to be based in the same place as her husband, Regan, and also return to teaching at Sumner School.
"Regan is so incredibly supportive and I know he would be happy for me to keep playing but I think he is secretly excited that I'm coming home," she said.
Their Christchurch house was extensively damaged in the earthquake three years ago and will soon be demolished to allow the couple to rebuild.
"We weren't classified as in the red zone but it's nearly the worst-case scenario," Finch said.
"It will all happen really quickly now and we've seen it already in our neighbourhood - they just bring in the diggers and fully demolish the houses."
While she was undoubtedly an integral component of the Steel's midcourt, Finch was confident the franchise would mount a competitive campaign for the ANZ Championship silverware.
"We've definitely got the goods, we just have to keep this foundation of players together," she said.
"The last three years have been absolutely amazing and the Steel has just been so supportive of me. It's good to finish on a positive note because we played really well this year."
Finch's experience has proved invaluable and she has thrived in the Steel environment.
"They do say we mature and play better netball at an older age," she said.
"I think it's that enjoyment which has enabled me to play well. I go out there and just have fun rather than put any other pressures on myself."
Finch hopes her tenacious approach to the game has inspired Steel's younger players.
"I'm a player who teaches through my play, not words. I'm more of a role model on the court itself and I hope I've taught something that will help them grow their game in the future."
- The Southland Times
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