Fowler's top effort for Steel stuns Tactix

NATHAN BURDON
Last updated 05:00 01/04/2013
Jhaniele Fowler
MICHAEL BRADLEY/FAIRFAX NZ
HIGH TOWER: The Southern Steel's Jhaniele Fowler towers above the Canterbury Tactix.

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When you are trying to break an 11-game losing streak, you sometimes need someone to do something a bit special.

For the Southern Steel, who won just two games all year in 2012 and were lucky to avoid a wooden spoon which ended up in the hands of their opponents on Saturday, the Canterbury Tactix, that peformance game from Jhaniele Fowler.

Logic suggested the 1.98m goal shoot would take time to settle into what is often touted as the world's most difficult netball competition.

But after a top performance on debut against a quality Queensland Firebirds outfit last weekend, Fowler turned bully against the hapless Tactix in Christchurch on Saturday, battering them with a competition record 65 goals from 70 attempts.

In doing so she overtook the previous record for individual goals (59) scored in a game, previously held by her Sunshine Girls team mate Romelda Aiken and former Jamaican international Carla Borrego.

Steel's total of 75, with skipper Jodi Brown very much a supporting act, but still landing 10 of her 11 attempts, was a record for the franchise and challenged the trans-Tasman record of 80.

Brown said there were concerns in the camp after a poor second quarter which saw the Tactix rebound from trailing 20-18 to lead by as many as five goals before sharing the honours 36-all at halftime.

"It's the one quarter that eludes us, we went pretty quiet in that second quarter, which was disappointing after we started so well. It was pretty quiet in the changing room after that quarter."

Brown said the team had talked at halftime about playing with confidence, letting the ball go and trusting each other , and the second half paid dividends.

They won the third quarter by 10 goals to take control of the game and allowed the Tactix, who have won just four games in the past four seasons, no chance to get back into the contest.

Brown said it was amazing having a front row seat to Fowler's shooting exhibition, and the Jamaican deserved plenty of credit for adjusting to the rigours of the trans-Tasman competition so quickly.

Steel have their first home game of the season this week, a round three fixture against the Adelaide Thunderbirds at Dunedin's Lion Foundation Arena on Saturday.

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- The Southland Times

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