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Bloxham chalks up 100th game at the helm - April 6, 2023

Things aren’t exactly going to plan on the scoreboard for the Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel but head coach Reinga Bloxham wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

“I always say it’s such a privilege to be in this role and it truly is. I don’t think there is any place I would rather be right now than here. Even though things are a little bit tough and dicey, it’s still where I want to be because it’s such a challenge to try and overcome,” she said.

She will chalk up her 100th game at the helm of the Steel against the Trident Homes Tactix in Christchurch on Sunday and the milestone has prompted plenty of contemplation.

“I have been reflecting back and, perhaps given the way things have gone so far this season, thinking about how successful the franchise has been and I’ve been part of some very successful years with two premiership titles.

“And then this year has presented another challenge and another opportunity to learn so much from being part of a team which hasn’t got the results in terms of actual wins yet. So it’s been a lot of learning because it’s not a place we’ve been before having to grind our way through this.

“For me, that reflection has been that this job always provides opportunities to challenge you and grow your capacity as a coach. You are always learning and there’s always a new experience to have and I think that’s the thing that drives me and keeps me in this job. No two days are the same – even though you do the same drills and skills and stuff, it never actually pans out the same so that’s the enjoyment factor of the job.”

Resilience has become an important trait for the southern franchise.

“You can have everything meticulously planned and then wham, something else comes along and changes it all. The experiences I’ve had over the years have taught me that sometimes you just have to roll with the punches,” Bloxham said.

Successes aren’t always determined by the scoreboard.

“You can’t just always hang your hat on winning. You have to decide what success looks like for you as a team and as a person. Does success look like one of your young players being able to get out there week in and week out and play to the best of her ability or does it mean someone like Saviour Tui who has just worked extremely hard to rehab herself and come back in better condition than she was last year? There are so many ways to measure success.

“Last week one of our goals as a team was for Georgia Heffernan to get an intercept and she got one so we were just so stoked about that. It’s about setting those little goals during a game so regardless of the result at the end we still feel like we are walking off that court winners.”

Bloxham paid tribute to the calibre of those around her within the Steel’s management ranks and other coaches who had supported her development.

“I always think I’ve got the best management group in the world because we are able to both challenge and support each other in that same space. I know I wouldn’t be half the coach I am today without them,” she said.

“Coaching can sometimes be a very lonely role but when you have a great management team around you it feels like you are all in it together. We all come from a place of learning and want to be the best we can be as a management group.”

Sunday’s ANZ Premiership game against the Tactix was another chance to change the narrative for 2023.

“We’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain and I think we are going to get to a point where we could absolutely have an impact on the outcome of this competition. We just have to take care of ourselves and keep growing and improving with every performance and see what opportunities it brings us,” Bloxham said.

“For three quarters of the game against the Mystics last week we were right in it so I just want to see them go out there and be in it for the full four quarters. I want to see them go back to what their job is and try really hard to be better than they have been even in the previous quarter.”


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