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Heffernan named Steel captain

March 6, 2024

Dynamic midcourter Kate Heffernan has earned the captaincy of the Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel.

The 24-year-old will be at the helm of a team determined to prove a force to be reckoned with during the ANZ Premiership.

“It’s really cool and it will be an honour to lead this group of players and I’m excited to see what we can achieve together,” Heffernan said.

Now in her seventh season with the Southern franchise, Heffernan is an experienced campaigner and will be strongly supported by former captain Shannon Saunders in the vice-captaincy role.

“The chance to do this alongside Shannon ensures I have a lot of experience and support to back me up,” she said.

“Shannon is going to be massive for us. We are so grateful that she is sacrificing that time away from bubs at home and she’s making it work and nailing it.”

Steel vice-captain last year, Heffernan was appointed co-vice captain of the Silver Ferns for the UK tour in January.

“There is always so much to learn in terms of leadership but it’s great to have those opportunities. As coaches, both Curly and Noels (Ferns coach Dame Noeline Taurua) have said ‘don’t try to be anyone else’ and it’s the best advice.

“You see other leaders and they are just so natural because they have developed their own style. Everyone has their way and I’m figuring out mine. Having Shannon there with her experience allows me to do that as we go along.”

Steel has welcomed a trio of former players back in the mix this season – Abbey Lawson (nee Erwood), Jennifer O’Connell and Taneisha Fifita.

“They know what’s expected, they know how it works and I think it’s refreshing and it’s going to be a really good dynamic with them back.

“It’s been really cool to see how much they have missed the environment and the new perspective they have coming back into it after different life experiences away from netball.”

Heffernan had high expectations of the Steel based on what she has witnessed during the preseason.

“It has been great to see the standard of the training there straight away. The whole team is working hard and everyone is excited to be there,” she said.

“We’ve got a really good side and we’re going to be super competitive. Obviously, we want to make the playoffs and ultimately we want to win but for now being able to put ourselves in a good position to do that from the outset is the focus.”

A winless 2023 season injected plenty of motivation.

“It is the past and, while it would be silly not to reflect on it, we have now completed that process,” she said.

“A lot of us have learnings from last season but, in saying that, we’re a new team and we’ve moved on completely from that. We have acknowledged it and we’ve reflected a lot and now we’re excited to show what we can do. I can already see that intent within the team where they want to prove what we are capable of.”

Bloxham said Heffernan was an asset on and off the court.

“It’s awesome for Kate to lead while having the support of Shannon who has a wealth of experience,” she said.

“Kate has developed into a excellent leader who is able to share her thoughts and ideas with clarity. She has strong relationships within the team and we know she will put her own spin on how she leads.”


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