Steel shooter Te Paea Selby-Rickit knows 2015 is her time to shine.
The 22-year-old has re-signed for a fifth season with the Ascot Park Hotel-sponsored Southern Steel, eager to build on the team's progress.
"We've got something really good happening here and I'm excited to see what we can achieve over the next couple of years," she said.
"Yes, you could label us as a young team but that just means we all need to step up, work harder than ever and make every moment count. I'm confident you will see us do that and those leadership skills will emerge as a result."
Since joining the franchise as a talented teenager in 2011, Selby-Rickit has 18 caps to her credit but her court-time has been hindered with international shooters Daneka Wipiiti, Donna Wilkins, Jodi Brown and Jhaniele Fowler-Reid ahead of her in the pecking order.
The Steel have shown Silver Ferns shooter Jodi Brown the door to give Selby-Rickit more oppo rtunities next year.
Selby-Rickit is been determined to evolve her game into a more versatile shooter capable of claiming the goal attack bib as her own.
"I've been working on my goal attack game for the past couple of years. It was refreshing and like a new start for me," she said.
"It's definitely a huge difference but I've really enjoyed the challenge. I'm excited by the opportunity of possibly getting more game time and developing what I've been working so hard towards. Yes, there's pressure but shooting is all about pressure - it's just what we do."
She will be well-supported by team-mates who rate amongst her best friends - some of which shared the glory of winning the World Youth Championship last year.
"We do have heaps of fun and that played a huge part in my decision to stay down here because I love the environment that's been created," Selby-Rickit said.
"We've built strong relationships and we trust each other. We know each other's limits and where we can push them on court."
The Steel roster now features eight players re-signed from last season, with Selby-Rickit joined in the shooting ranks by Jamaican international Jhaniele Fowler-Reid, midcourters Wendy Frew, Shannon Francois, Gina Crampton and Stacey Peeters, and the defensive pairing of Phoenix Karaka and Storm Purvis.
Steel chief executive Sue Clarke said keeping the core of the team together for next season was a priority with a focus on establishing a team with sustainability.
"It will be exciting to watch these players continue to develop in the environment we have created and I have no doubts they have the talent to mix it with the best on any given day," she said.
Player contracting was progressing well and Clarke hoped to announce the final four players next week.
"We just need to fit those last few pieces of the puzzle."
- The Southland Times
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