Visit the ANZ Premiership WebsiteReturn to Steel Home Page
  1. Home >
  2. News >
  3. Saunders ruled out of 2024 ANZ Premiership

Saunders ruled out of 2024 ANZ Premiership

16 May 2024

The Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel has been dealt another cruel blow with experienced midcourter Shannon Saunders ruled out for the remainder of the 2024 ANZ Premiership season.

Saunders, 33, has been diligently managing a knee injury suffered during preseason preparations. However, recent diagnostic tests revealed further damage.

“It has been a bit of a weird one. My knee just puffed up after training one day and we’ve been managing it since. I had more scans done recently and now I have a tear in my cartilage which, unfortunately, is going to take some time to heal,” she explained.

“It's definitely taken a while for the news to sink in, especially because it's been quite a strange injury in terms of its presentation and I wasn't expecting my latest scan results to give the diagnosis that it has. On the flip side, it's nice to now have some answers and more of a direction in terms of rehab and steps forward.”

The most capped player in the ANZP, Saunders’ return after welcoming her first child last year was highly anticipated by netball pundits and, despite limited court time, her impressive efforts did not disappoint.

“I'm extremely gutted. I was having so much fun being back out there on court. It has been awesome seeing the improvement from the team each week and I'm devastated I won't be able to help contribute to that out on court now,” she said.

“I have absolutely loved my time back with Steel. Even just being in the team environment has been awesome. I love the pressure and the competitiveness that comes with playing and the challenge to be better, learn and adapt each week.

“The team has been improving each week and I'm excited to see them continue to grow and watch all the different combinations develop.”

She was confident understudy Ivari Christie would continue to excel in the wing attack bib and was eager to continue in a mentoring role with the team

“Ivari has done amazingly each time she has taken the court. I think her confidence is growing every week and she has been great at putting her learnings out there in the actual games. I have full confidence she will take that WA position with two hands and make it her own and I'm there to support her every step of the way,” Saunders said.

“I will stay connected with the team as much as I can and hopefully still be able to make it down for some of the home games. That's the really hard part about being based away from the team, not being there every day, but we have so many different ways to participate in meetings or trainings via online and I'm able to stay linked that way.”

Steel chief executive Sonya Fleming said Saunders had the team’s unwavering support.

“Shannon’s vast experience is not something you can simply replace and she is a massive loss for us from a leadership perspective. Our priority continues to be supporting Shannon in her rehabilitation.”

The hunt is now on for a replacement player as the team prepares for its round 6 game against the Trident Homes Tactix in Rangiora on Sunday.

Christchurch Website Development