Selby-Rickit to lead Steel - February 2, 2023
She’s poised to notch up her 200th game in New Zealand’s elite domestic netball league and now Te Huinga Reo Selby-Rickit has yet another accolade to her credit – captain of the Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel.
One of the sport’s most experienced campaigners, Selby-Rickit will led the Steel in it’s 16th ANZ Premiership season, supported by Kate Heffernan as vice-captain along with Sam Winders and George Fisher in the leadership group.
“It is a huge honour to be named captain of a team like the Steel, especially when you reflect on our proud history and all of the incredible leaders who have been in this role for me to take inspiration from,” Selby-Rickit said.
“Even though I have the title of captain, when you take into account the high calibre of players we have, it feels like it is just a title. We have so many leaders in this group who bring different strengths in various areas so I don't need to be something that I'm not. I can focus on leading those areas I'm strong in with the confidence there are others ready and able to lead in different spaces.”
Selby-Rickit’s approach was to focus on balance.
“I want to bring a sense of calmness to the role and show my team the value of balance. So, train hard and give your all when we are together but also have fun and don’t take yourself too seriously,” she said.
“Netball is our job and it's amazing, we are very lucky. But I believe the best performances come when players are having fun and are happy in their environment.”
Head coach Reinga Bloxham said Selby-Rickit’s experience continued to be an asset.
“Hu brings a wealth of experience. She is cool and calm and strives under pressure. In those big games when you're under the pump she relishes the opportunity to compete,” she said.
“She is so chill that not much fazes her. She relates well to all the players and her real strength is her game smarts and how she unites people.”
Bloxham was excited about the potential of the Steel’s leadership.
“Kate is excited about the opportunity to lead alongside Hu. She has been a part of our team for a while now and is ready to share her knowledge,” she said.
“Sam and George will support them and are both experienced players. Sam has awesome professional habits to support her team mates. She is high energy and holds herself and others accountable.
“George is the glue that connects our team. Accepting of everyone's uniqueness and values what you bring. They're a great mix.”
This weekend the Steel will host the New South Wales Swifts and ANZ Premiership defending champions Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse at ILT Stadium Southland.
“We’re super excited to get the opportunity to play Oz style and test ourselves against it. I want to give everyone a chance to experience it as we start solidifying our connections and combos,” Bloxham said.
Selby-Rickit was eager to see the Steel challenged on the court after a rigorous preseason.
“It’s been really tough so we’re excited to finally get into some game play. We’re starting off with a hiss and a roar against the Swifts so it will be interesting to get a gauge of both where we are at and the areas we need to improve,” she said.
“This is another key phase as we prepare for the season ahead. Obviously, our ultimate goal for 2023 is to win, but we’ll be taking it game by game, team by team. Fixing small things and improving every game will be key for us.”
Match tickets for this weekend’s preseason games are now on sale online via www.southernsteel.co.nz