Steel reveals leadership duo - March 12, 2018
The honour of captaining the Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel never diminishes for Wendy Frew.
The team’s 2018 ANZ Premiership title defence will be Frew’s fifth at the helm and a remarkable 16th representing the southern franchise, including its predecessor the Sting.
“It’s always a real honour for me to lead the Southern Steel line-up. It’s something I really enjoy and I’m just lucky to have such a good bunch of players around me who are all leaders in their own way,” she said.
“Each year everyone grows in their own personal development so it’s a fantastic environment to be involved with.”
Frew has a new deputy this season with fellow midcourter Gina Crampton bestowed the vice-captaincy.
“There is a lot of responsibility with being captain and vice-captain in terms of driving the team’s values and performance. I think we will work really well together and I’m excited about the partnership,” Frew said.
“Gina is going to bring a lot of great qualities to the role. She’s very motivated both on and off the court and she’s already shown me she’s definitely a leader for the future.”
Crampton, who has previously captained Otago to provincial titles, was eager to embrace the leadership challenge at an elite level.
“It’s a massive privilege to be asked. There will be a lot of growth for me and that’s exciting in itself,” she said.
“I’ve got such an awesome leader ahead of me in Wendy and I’m looking forward to learning so much from her.”
First selected for the Steel in 2013 as a talented 21-year-old, Crampton has progressed through the ranks to senior status.
“It’s interesting being on the other side because we were so young when we came into the team. It is pretty scary and it can be overwhelming,” she recalled.
“With my leadership style I try to be really encouraging to everyone and keep the fun and enjoyment going.”
Dubbed the ‘Clash of the Champions’, the Steel will play the Noeline Taurua-coached Sunshine Coast Lightning in two exhibition matches this week - at Dunedin’s Edgar Centre on Thursday night and Invercargill’s ILT Stadium Southland on Friday.
“It’s champion versus champion which I’m super excited about. It’s going to be awesome to have a really tough hit out,” Crampton said.
“It’s going to be new for us because we haven’t played against that Aussie style for a long time but it’s great because we are going to have to adapt which is an added challenge.
“It will be pressure that we haven’t been put under for quite a while.”
Frew said the team was in the process of cementing new combinations.
“Game time is vital. We’ve added some new players in key positions this season and it’s not a quick fix – there’s a lot of work that needs to go in before the season and every game we have will build those connections even more,” she said.
A bumper crowd would provide added motivation for the Steel, Crampton said.
“That’s the advantage of playing on home turf. We want everyone in Dunedin and Invercargill to come and support us and get a taste of what’s ahead with the Steel in 2018,” Crampton said.