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Southern Steel coach Reinga Bloxham looking at the 'positive' side of Jane Watson departure - July 5, 2017

Southern Steel coach Reinga Bloxham is taking a "positive" viewpoint to the departure of star goal keep Jane Watson to the Mainland Tactix.

Watson who was named the ANZ Premiership "player of the year", has been a key cog in the Southern Steel juggernaut in 2017, but will venture back to her Canterbury roots for the 2018 season.

"It is a bit of a loss, but a really good thing for her to be able to return home, so I think that is a positive," Bloxham said.

"Things change, you just have to roll with the punches and go with what you can, for Jane it is something that she wanted to do."

"I think it is really awesome that she is able to return home."

The departure of the 1.81m goal keep will leave a hole in the championship winning Steel squad for next season.

"We are going to have to look at what we are going to do for next year and obviously we are going to have to bring someone into our team and I think that will be a positive as well," Bloxham said.

"It might provide something different for us and a bit of a change."

According to Bloxham, the national premiership teams will all be in the same boat to retain and recruit players for next season, before they finalise their squads by August 23.

"When one door shuts, another one opens for somebody," she said.

"I think it is just a matter of looking at what your options are and seeing who is available and what you want to do and the sort of style of game you want to play."

In one of the first player contracting announcements for the 2018 ANZ Premiership netball competition, the defender has been nabbed by the Tactix, in the hope she can bring better results than 2017.

Watson, born in Christchurch, played for the Tactix from 2012 to 2014 before moving south for a change of scene.  In 2016, Watson was selected for the Silver Ferns and has been a regular in the side since then.

"It was an incredibly tough decision because I've just loved every minute down here.  However, this is bigger than netball – it's the right decision for me personally," Watson said.

She has morphed into one of New Zealand's fiercest defenders during her three years with the southern franchise, reflected in her elevation into the Silver Ferns.

While she undoubtedly thrived in the Steel environment, earning national selection was an unexpected bonus for Watson.

"It was never on my mind. I just knew in myself that I needed something different than what I was getting in Christchurch at the time, because I wasn't enjoying my netball. I'm so grateful for the opportunity to come down south and rekindle my passion for the game," she said.

Watson played under a trio of coaches at the Steel in Janine Southby, Noeline Taurua and Reinga Bloxham who influenced her playing prowess during her time with the southern franchise.

Representing her home province has a huge element of pride attached, she said.

The move is a questionable one as the Tactix have suffered a tough campaign this season winning only two matches. Having endured a season from hell a change of coach and just two wins.

Tactix coach Marianne Delaney-Hoshek said Watson would make a huge difference to her 2018 squad.

Watson has played under Marianne Delany-Hoshek previously at NZ A level and is familiar with a number of players who are likely to be on the Tactix roster for 2018.


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