Fowler-Reid commits to Steel for 2017 - August 1, 2016
Jhaniele Fowler-Reid will return “home” to the Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel in 2017.
The Jamaican international has committed for her fifth season with the southern franchise which will compete in the newly-established ANZ Elite League.
“I’m excited to embark on a new competition with the Steel. Honestly I am just so keen to embrace it. I know it’s going to be just as exciting and just as intense,” she said.
“Family is so important to me and I feel like family here. Everyone looks out for me and wherever I go I feel like I’m home. This is my second home and happy players make good players.
“I was only ever signing for the first year (2013) but being here has exceeded my expectations. And the cold doesn’t bother me anyway,” she quipped.
“The good thing is when it’s getting really cold here, I’m heading home to summer in Jamaica. But I’ve acclimatised really well.”
The most prolific shooter in ANZ Championship history, Fowler-Reid set a new league record of 779 goals during the recent season with an accuracy rate over 90 percent and snaffled 88 offensive rebounds.
The Steel recorded its most successful campaign in the competition’s 9-year history, and Fowler-Reid was keen to see the team stick together and continue the momentum.
“It was more than a step up, I think we have taken a few steps up. I think we will be a force to be reckoned with this coming season. There is much more to come because we do have a lot of room to improve. Imagine if we improve on what we’re already doing - we’re going to be dominating,” she said.
Steel chief executive Lana Winders said she was thrilled to re-sign Fowler-Reid.
“She’s one of our first full signings for the new Elite League and provides an incredible platform from which to build the rest of the player roster,” Winders said.
“I’m very excited for our savvy Steel fans who know just how crucial Jae’s contribution on the court is. I rate her as the best GS on the planet right now and we are thrilled she wants to come back to Invercargill again next year and take the court for the Steel in our new elite domestic competition.”
Together with husband Andre and their six-year-old daughter Drehannah, Fowler-Reid departs for Jamaica on Tuesday (August 2). She will have just two weeks rest before embarking on an international campaign with the Sunshine Girls, including a return trip to New Zealand to take on the Silver Ferns.
Confident her game had evolved, she was eager to perform on the world stage.
“I feel very strong - as a player and as a person. I’m mentally strong and physically strong. Just knowing that I’m not only limited to my high jumps, I’m now out of the box and out of my comfort zone and that’s a really cool place to be.”
Fowler-Reid felt the gap between Jamaica and netball’s Australasian powerhouses had narrowed.
“It would be a big achievement for us (to beat the Silver Ferns) and it would show that our sport has grown and as players we have grown. The mentality of standing up to these big guns, we’re ready,” she said.
“Being in New Zealand has played a major part in that. I’ve been exposed to all these awesome defenders and I know what to do. And with the coaching, I’ve learned so much and can give that back to home.”