Co-captains to lead Steel in 2019 - December 20, 2018
Experienced campaigners Gina Crampton and Te Huinga Reo Selby-Rickit will join forces to lead the Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel in 2019.
The talented duo will share the captaincy duties as the southern franchise aims to win the ANZ Premiership for a third consecutive time.
Crampton was excited about the challenges ahead.
“I think we have to set our expectations high. We have a solid team and, while we haven’t had long together yet this season, if we get our flow going and our connections, it will definitely be a good campaign,” she said.
Culture was a key element of the Steel’s success and the pair were committed to ensuring it continued to evolve positively.
“Our first conversations as a full squad were about how we are going to make the environment a good one and how we are all going to work together so that definitely bodes well. Everyone is on the same page,” Crampton said.
Selby-Rickit said the players were a close-knit bunch.
“We hang out all the time – at training or after training. We are together constantly and I think that does have an impact on our team culture and the strength of the relationships that you form. We have each other’s back and in those tight games that can be the difference between winning and losing,” she said.
“It’s funny because we don’t tend to get angry at each other on the court – or if we do, it’s over pretty much straight away.”
Crampton added: “It’s a good place to be when you have those unspoken connections and you know and respect each other’s qualities and also what your team-mate needs in certain moments.”
Crampton and Selby-Rickit’s leadership styles would prove complementary - with an element of ‘good cop, bad cop’ thrown in the mix.
“I’m the scaredy cat – Gina is much better at holding people accountable so she will do that while I just run the other way. She’s going to be the bad cop,” Selby-Rickit quipped.
“She’s actually right … but hopefully we don’t have any situations where it needs to come out,” Crampton added.
Crampton said it would be valuable working in partnership.
“It’s nice that we have each other. The workload hasn’t increased too much because everyone takes responsibility as a team,” she said.
“Doing your own job is a good way of leading and I feel that’s something Hu does really well. She goes about her business but the yarns are there at the breaks.”
Selby-Rickit agreed. “It’s good having someone else because sometimes in sport at this level you do need to be a bit selfish and focus on yourself so you play at your own best,” she said.
“We want everyone to be talking and have a voice in this team.”
The Steel launches its title quest against the Northern Stars in Hamilton on February 24 with its first home game at ILT Stadium Southland on March 11 against the Magic.