Selby-Rickit set to play 200th game - March 10, 2023
Te Huinga Reo Selby-Rickit is set to join an exclusive club when she takes the court against the Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse tomorrow … but don’t go making a fuss about it.
When it comes to celebrating netball achievements, the Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel captain is as humble as you will find and her impending 200th elite netball game is no exception.
Testament to the stature of the accomplishment, the wily defender will be just the fifth player in New Zealand netball history to rack up the impressive tally, joining legends the calibre of Leana de Bruin (229), Laura Langman (226), Liana Leota (210) and Katrina Rore (203).
Selby-Rickit is the only one who has earned it exclusively with New Zealand franchises – stemming from the National Bank Cup with the Southern Sting to the ANZ Championship and latterly ANZ Premiership with Steel and the Pulse.
“I just want it over and done with to be honest so I can focus more on the season ahead instead of this. I want to win because I want to win for the competition and obviously you want to win these games. But I never really know what the big deal is from 199 to 201 so it’s just numbers in a way,” she said.
“In the past we haven’t done very well as a team when we focus on other things instead of the game at hand and our structures and processes but the girls are really focused and ready to go so there won’t be any danger of that.”
Selby-Rickit would have chalked up her 200th last year had the Steel made the final or even last week against the MG Mystics had it not been for a niggly calf injury.
“I guess it was meant to be like this. Part of those 200 was for the Pulse so the universe really does work it out and I’m excited to get it done. While I was gutted not to play in Auckland last week, to get to play in Wellington where I’m from will be nice so hopefully a few family members will be able to come along.”
She was feeling fit and confident.
“The only thing I’m nervous about fitness wise is my lungs in these games. You can play all the preseason games but the first actual premiership game is just completely different – it’s all the hype and the intensity just lifts three times as much as preseason.
“Luckily the girls have got a taste of it. I haven’t quite yet so I’m going to be blowing a bit but I know I have the backup of my team so I can just park myself under the goal and let others do the running around for me,” she quipped.
She had the benefit of a different perspective after being forced to watch the Steel’s 38-64 drubbing in opening round from the couch.
“It was tough and it wasn’t. I really love watching netball and watching the team play and you’re still really involved in the buildup so it is fun watching what you worked on become a reality. Sometimes that doesn’t happen though.
“I’m not someone who dwells. Yes, I want to be there but once the decision has been made that I’m not, I just try to move past it and do my other role which is more analytical and give feedback.
“Even though it wasn’t the game that we wanted, I enjoyed watching them finally get out there on court. The beauty of it is that we know where we can improve now – and there’s a lot of areas – and we have a whole season to do it. One of the best things when you have a thrashing like that is to be able to see the improvement when we play them next. I’m excited for that.”
This weekend features the first of the season’s double headers with Steel playing the Pulse in Wellington on Saturday followed by the Robinhood Stars in Auckland on Monday.
“I do expect to win because we had a very good preseason and we’ve looked at what we didn’t do very well against the Mystics,” Selby-Rickit said.
“This will be our third meeting with the Pulse this year and we have a win apiece from preseason. I’m really interested to see if we’ve learned from our mistakes. If you aren’t learning from those, then that becomes a problem. You can make them once but if you’re constantly making them again then we have to address that. So, I’m excited to see if we have moved on and fixed the things that needed fixed.”
And you can bet there will be plenty of Selby-Rickit whanau in the stands to witness the action.
“A lot of my family are so sick of watching netball – there’s some who are obsessed so I know I will see them but others are just so over it because they’ve seen so many games. It will be funny if any of them turn up because I will be like “geez, who dragged you along and forced you to come to this one?” so it will be interesting. But I’m excited to share it with my family.”
Photo: Michael Bradley Photography