Southern Steel get through their preseason buildup relatively unscathed

Southern Steel centre Gina Crampton challenges Netball South opposite Kate Heffernan during a preseason warm up match at ...
John Hawkins

Southern Steel centre Gina Crampton challenges Netball South opposite Kate Heffernan during a preseason warm up match at ILT Stadium Southland in Invercargill.

Te Huinga Selby-Rickit's ankle niggle is the only minor concern in what has otherwise been a flawless build up to the Southern Steel's 2017 ANZ Premiership campaign.

The Steel closed out their preseason preparations with a 69-42 win over Netball South's Beko League team at ILT Stadium Southland in Invercargill on Sunday.

To add a bit of extra pressure on the Steel, at times a couple of extra players were added to the Netball South team on court to make it tougher on the Steel players to get the ball into the shooting circle.

Southern Steel coach Reinga Bloxham.
Robyn Edie

Southern Steel coach Reinga Bloxham.

Like always during a preseason, to come through a game without any major injury problems is regarded a big positive and that was the case for the Steel on Sunday.

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Selby-Rickit was rested as she continues to nurse an ankle injury, but coach Reinga Bloxham is hoping to have her back training on Tuesday or Wednesday this week in the lead up to Sunday's opener against the Northern Stars during the Super Sunday round in Hamilton.

"Everyone else is quite good, we are just being cautious with where she is at. She feels like she could just get up and run but our management team is just managing her quite closely because it is a long season."

Selby-Rickit's limited buildup could well open the door for young defender Abby Erwood in the Steel's opening game on Sunday.

Everyone barring Selby-Rickit got court time on Sunday and Bloxham was pleased with what she seen.

"We played an overloaded type of game and the girls seem to cope with that really well.

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"In the first and last quarter, we played seven on seven and were able to dominate which is what should happen really."

With the preseason done and the first competition fixture fast approaching, Bloxham said the team was exactly where she wanted it to be at this stage of the season.

"I'm happy with where we are at. Physically we are looking in pretty tip top shape.

"The girls have trained harder than they ever have and have managed to get through that. So I think we are looking pretty classy in that aspect.

"Things are also starting to gel on the court as well which puts us in quite a good position. There is still a little bit of work to do but I think once we get a couple of matches under our belts we will be able to iron some of those things out.

"Having that extra [competition] pressure is going to be great for us."

After an extensive build up Bloxham, in her first year as head coach, and the players are looking forward to the season proper starting.

"They girls are feeling that anticipation and there's a few nerves now which is all part of it."

 - Stuff


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