Elliott celebrates 50th game on home turf - March 27, 2023
When Courtney Elliott ran onto the court, her 50th ANZ Premiership game on Saturday night, it felt right to be wearing the Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel uniform.
In fact, there was a sense of déjà vu with her debut in netball’s top echelon back in 2018.
“It’s nice because obviously I started here with the Steel so to be back to do my 50 is pretty special,” Elliott said.
“I’ve enjoyed coming home. I don’t know why I say home but that’s kind of how it feels.”
Elliott has earned the kudos at just 23 years old but her talent was clear from a young age when she was named New Zealand’s Secondary School Player of the Year in 2016.
“I think it’s gone rather quick to be honest. It’s a bit crazy to think I’ve been on the court 50 times.
“It’s a cool milestone to bring up. Just knowing you’ve been around to do so many games and have those experiences.”
A member of the 2018 ANZ Premiership-winning Steel team, Elliott remained in the south in 2019 before joining the Mystics in 2020. She headed across the ditch to play in the semi-professional Queensland State League in 2021 before joining the Pulse as a replacement call-up for the 2022 season.
“Every team has taught me something to add to my own game and really it’s the players. Everyone has their own strengths and it’s cool to learn from different ones and build on my own.”
An intelligent player who boasts all three defensive positions in her repertoire, Elliott was recruited back into the Steel ranks as a replacement for Sarahpheinna Woulf and is embracing the opportunity to rekindle a defensive partnership with players the calibre of Kate Burley and captain Te Huinga Reo Selby-Rickit.
“It’s new and it’s still building. Kate’s really aerial and a strong player on our team so it’s really good to build those new connections with her and Hoochie (Te Huinga) is just a netball mastermind to soak up knowledge from.”
Saturday’s 49-54 loss to the Avis Magic at ILT Stadium was the Steel’s best performance to date this season and clinched a desperately-needed bonus point.
“Team wise it was a good performance and I think we really built positively. From the start we were right in the hunt and we didn’t let it go. We trudged on and kept that bonus point so yes, while it’s not the win we wanted, it’s a better result,” Elliott said.
“It’s a step forward so hopefully we just keep building from here.
“The difference was honing in on our own strengths and being more dictated to be honest instead of being reactive. We came into this game knowing what we wanted to do with the intention of making them play the way we wanted them to – not just react to what they bring to the court – so it definitely worked in our favour. Now it’s just to keep tracking and get a win.”
The MG Mystics loom as the next challenge in Dunedin on Saturday night.
“We just need to focus on ourselves and play to our strengths, not worry about what they are going to do. We need to concentrate on how we are going to better our own performance.” Tickets for the 7.15pm game are available via www.ticketek.co.nz