Southern Steel too strong for Netball South in pre-season fixture - February 27, 2017
by SCOTT DONALDSON
The Southern Steel netball team showed their class to beat Netball South 77-39 on Sunday in a pre-season friendly in Oamaru.
The result was never really in question as the 2016 ANZ Championship minor premiers raced to a 44-19 halftime lead and were too strong for the 2016 Beko League champions.
The match was the first opportunity for the Steel to roll out their full strength squad, with Silver Ferns stars Te Paea Selby-Rickit, Gina Crampton, Shannon Francois and Jane Watson joining the team after their international commitments.
New Southern Steel coach Reinga Bloxham was relatively pleased with the performance, a month out from their regular season competition opener against the Northern Stars.
"Not too bad, there were ebbs and flows, but most of it was pretty good," she said.
"There were some moments of good play, but there are definitely areas we need to work on and with it being our first hit, we were sometimes a little bit rusty and we may not have executed things as accurately as we wanted to."
"It was really important for us in our match play that we try to be as accurate as possible, obviously we are not 100 per cent, but we are well on our way."
The Steel rotated their squad heavily during the match, as they tried out various combinations, although there was no rest for players on the sideline.
"Our main objective was to get everyone out on the court, because obviously it is our first match played together so we had different lines and combinations that we played every quarter," Bloxham said.
"Those that weren't playing were doing conditioning on the side, just to keep that intensity up so that once they hit the court they weren't necessarily fresh, they were coming in having worked as hard as the other girls so that was our main objective."
Both southern teams continue their preparation with double headers against their Canterbury based rivals on Saturday and Sunday.
The Steel will prepare for the inaugural 2017 ANZ Premiership season against the Mainland Tactix, while South will play Mainland, with all four games at the Edgar Centre in Dunedin.