Fowler-Reid seeks new challenges - July 10, 2017
After five years dominating the New Zealand netball scene, Southern Steel’s powerhouse shooter Jhaniele Fowler-Reid is heading to Australia.
The 1.98m Jamaican international is bidding farewell to the Steel to compete in the 2018 Suncorp Super League.
“It wasn’t easy because I had to do heaps of thinking around leaving behind something that I’ve grown to know for five years and just the culture and everything so the decision to move away from that has been hard,” she said.
“It definitely comes down to me needing a new challenge and me broadening my horizons and seeing what else is out there for me.
“It’s going to be a new lifestyle and a new environment with different people but I adapt easily so that’s a good thing.”
The prolific goal scorer has slotted 3678 goals from 4020 attempts with an accuracy rate of 91.4 percent over the past five seasons. She credits the Steel environment with her evolution into one of the world’s best.
“I’ve grown so much – not only within my career but also personally,” Fowler-Reid said.
“My game has changed tremendously … I have many tricks up my sleeve now to keep defenders thinking. I’m not a one-trick pony anymore.”
She was “incredibly grateful” for the opportunity to join the Steel ranks in 2013.
“It has changed me and it has grown me so much and the opportunity to come over to New Zealand is something that I really appreciate. The Steel have had such patience with me and supported me so much in feeling like I’m at home,” she said.
“They helped me find the best that I have. Even though I know there’s better to come and much more room for improvement, I feel the Steel has paved the way for all that goodness in me.”
The Invercargill community welcomed her unconditionally and for that she was “truly blessed”.
“I will miss the Invercargill crowd. The Steel fortress is something incredibly special and when any opposing team comes there I know it’s hard for them and that’s something I love to see.”
The competitive nature of the inaugural Super League was a definite drawcard for Fowler-Reid.
“I’m impressed. I feel the teams over there are tracking good and there’s some pretty exciting players over there. I know it’s going to be a good league to ply my trade,” she said.
“There’s some tough defenders but I’ve played them before so I know them. They may not know me because I think I’ve evolved in the past season so it will be a good thing for me to go in even stronger.”
A battle against the 2017 champions the Sunshine Coast Lightning, coached by her former mentor Noeline Taurua, also loomed.
“I look forward to playing against her team and I know she’s going to have her defenders pull out all the stops on me but I’m sure I’m going to have some stops myself.”