Selby-Rickit thrives on the thrill of competition - May 20, 2021
The unpredictable nature of the 2021 ANZ Premiership is hitting all the right notes for Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel defender Te Huinga Reo Selby-Rickit.
After 16 years playing in netball’s top echelon, Selby-Rickit’s love of a tightly contested showdown has never waned. So, it’s no wonder she revelled in watching younger sister Te Paea and her Tactix team-mates record a one-point victory in an extra time thriller earlier this week.
“It was crazy. Those games are great for people to watch because you can see what momentum does and also how people deal with those tactical situations. We can always train for those moments in a game but it was really good to see how they actually implemented it and how players dealt with it,” she said.
“Some players will get into that scenario and have a complete meltdown whereas others will do something out of this world - it’s a real gamble and I love seeing those endings to games to see what people do.
“Tactics really came into play and both teams were great but the Tactix held their nerve, spurred on by the help of their home crowd.”
It’s an advantage Selby-Rickit hopes pays dividends for Steel when the two teams meet at ILT Stadium Southland on Monday night.
“It’s no secret to anyone that we love playing at home. This is obviously going to be a completely different game to when we met in round one. Te Paea is back, both teams have more game play under our belts, we’re not really a shock to anyone anymore - there’s a lot of factors which come into it,” she said.
“It’s going to be an incredibly tough, tough game but we’re really looking forward to it and very happy it’s going to be played on our home turf.”
Last Sunday’s 56-52 win over Te Wananga o Raukawa Pulse in Porirua was Steel’s first victory on the road this season.
“That venue has been the scene of some real highs and real lows for us - we’ve had some huge wins there but also our biggest ever loss. It was good to go in there and have a hard, evenly fought game. We really had to fight for it so stoked to get the win.”
The congested competition points ladder reflected the tight encounters.
“It’s very evenly matched. While the Stars have won all their matches and are probably the favourites, any team could take the win in any given game and that makes it so exciting for the competition,” Selby-Rickit said.
“Yes every game counts but the reality is every point counts. Goal differential countbacks have made a huge difference in this competition so we have to keep that focus for the full 60 minutes and understand that every point counts and never let up.”
“As we go on, teams find form and you never know who you are going to come up against. You could hit them playing their best or not - so it all comes down to how you handle it in that moment.
“I hate going into a game and having a label slapped on us - whether that’s as the favourite or the underdog - because it doesn’t matter and any team is capable. I guess it’s up to each individual player as to how they approach games but I like to go in thinking it’s even and whoever plays the best netball on the night will be the best team.”
The most experienced player in the ANZ Premiership with 175 caps to her credit, Selby-Rickit was enjoying her latest campaign.
“I’m always a bit anxious going into the season to see what it’s going to be like but especially this year given we had so many player changes. But it’s been really great and the new players have fitted in so well,” she said.
“We’ve been having a lot of fun off court and in preseason we were kind of thinking ‘we get along so well off court why isn’t it showing on court’ so it’s been really good to find that chemistry is now really starting to show.”
Steel will meet The Good Oil Tactix at 6.15pm on Monday, 24 May. Tickets are available from ILT Stadium Southland or online at www.ticketek.co.nz.
Photo: Michael Bradley Photography