Unwanted Tactix duo off to the Southern Steel

BRENDON EGAN
Last updated 05:00 13/08/2014
Jane Watson
KIRK HARGREAVES/Fairfax NZ
STEEL BOUND: Defender Jane Watson.

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Two of Canterbury's most promising netball talents are off to the Southern Steel having been unwanted by the Tactix.

Defender Jane Watson and shooter Sophia Fenwick, who both spent the past three years at the Tactix, will play for the Invercargill-based franchise next season.

Watson, 24, and Fenwick, 21, were not offered contracts by the Tactix after battling form and injury this year.

The Steel also announced yesterday the signing of Waikato-Bay of Plenty shooter Brooke Leaver, the daughter of former Silver Fern Leonie Leaver.

Watson had a stellar campaign for the Tactix last year, which caught the eye of Silver Ferns coach Wai Taumaunu, who handed her a national trial.

She was unable to back up that play this season after a disruptive pre-season, where she was hampered by ruptured ligaments in an ankle.

Watson is looking forward to working with Steel coach Janine Southby and teaming up with exciting young defenders Phoenix Karaka and Storm Purvis.

The Tactix showed some interest in Watson for next season, but a formal contract offer never materialised.

"It's time for a change in environment. I wanted a fresh start, I guess, after not having such a great season," Watson said.

"[Last season] definitely had its setbacks. It's a good thing early on in my career and learning how to come back from an injury."

Fenwick was disappointed not to be in the Tactix' plans for 2015, but understood why.

She landed just 31/56 of her attempts (55 per cent) in the opening three games of the season, which saw her banished to the bench.

Fenwick was then sidelined after being concussed during a practice session. She attempted to return to the court, but sustained another head knock, which ended her season.

She has been back playing club netball for St Nicholas in recent weeks.

"Christchurch is my hometown and it would've been nice to stay here, but at the same time I did feel like I was ready for a change," Fenwick said.

"I put my name out there and I was lucky enough to get Steel."

It will be Fenwick's second stint with the Steel after being a member of the franchise in 2011 when Robyn Broughton was coach. Fenwick, who was just one year out of Rangi Ruru, gained only three minutes of court-time at wing attack.

With Silver Fern Jodi Brown controversially not retained by the Steel, Fenwick will be hoping to put pressure on Selby-Rickit for game time at goal attack.

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The chance to play alongside star Jamaican shooter Jhaniele Fowler-Reid at the Steel was also a huge drawcard.

Fenwick acknowledged she needed to lift her shooting accuracy and deal with pressure situations better in games, having converted only 65 per cent of attempts during the past two trans-Tasman netball league seasons.

Meanwhile, the Central Pulse have confirmed the signing of Australian age-group shooter Ameliaranne Wells. She has played for the Queensland Firebirds for the past four seasons, but will play as a local, courtesy of having a New Zealand father.

Silver Fern defender Anna Harrison has declared her unavailability for the rest of the season after becoming pregnant with her second child.

- The Press

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