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Motivated Steel ready to finish strong - June 2, 2022

Hopes of making the ANZ Premiership playoffs have been dashed but the Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel won’t be lacking motivation.

Captain Shannon Saunders is adamant her team has plenty left to fight for when taking on the Robinhood Stars in Auckland tonight. For starters, it’s the same team whose extra-time victory just four days ago ended any hope of the Southerners extending its season into finals territory.

“It’s a bit weird knowing we don’t have elimination finals to play for and that loss took a bit to process to be honest,” Saunders said.

“It was really disappointing and just so frustrating because we were in it for the whole time and it could have been our game.

“It was just that decision making at crucial times which let us down. It’s a good learning going forward but that doesn’t take away the hurt at the moment.”

With a third encounter against both the Stars and the Spice Construction Magic, to be played in Hamilton on Saturday, to finish the season, it feels like familiar territory.

“We kind of know what we’re going to come up against. It’s just about standing up in those pressure situations if we find ourselves in them again. Hopefully the situation will be different because we would have learned and it will show out there on court,” she said.

“The last few games we’ve lost when we’ve been put under pressure so that’s something that we really want to improve on.

“There’s still plenty to play for and we want to finish on a good positive note. Sunday’s game was probably one of our most consistent performances for 60 minutes. It was just those little things that let us down. We’re playing some really good netball, we just to keep doing that consistently.’

Selection for international duties added another element to the mix for several players in the ranks.

“We’ve talked about that and it’s a good opportunity to make sure we put some good performances out there for all the girls that are seeking selection coming up and just trying to put our best foot forward for all of them. That’s a good motivation to try and step up for our teammates.”


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