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Volunteers thrive in Steel environment - May 19, 2023

A dynamic duo has added an energetic vibe to the volunteer ranks of the Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel this season.

Affectionately known collectively as “the Hannahs”, students Hannah Bisset and Hannah Soper have been undertaking a myriad of tasks at Steel home games in Invercargill and Dunedin – everything from court set up to mascot duties.

“We’re loving it. We get the best seats in the house hanging out courtside, help deliver really cool events and add to our professional development at the same time,” Bisset, 18, said.

There’s no denying the pair are avid netball fans – even with the Steel form woes at times during this year’s ANZ Premiership campaign.

“We just love the Steel. We’re ‘ride-or-die’ Steel fans since we were kids,” Soper, 19, said.

Bisset added: “Next year is our year. Our heartrates have been a little bit elevated for some of the games this season.

“You can see that their spirits are high and that’s what makes them such a great team. They are united and the team environment is positive.”

Both studying sports development at Otago University, they lead the Netball South Youth Advisory Group and thrive on the chance to give back to their chosen code.

After being assigned to the Fast5 tournament in November last year, they initiated the chance to volunteer for the Steel.

“We just finessed our way into the games really,” Bisset quipped.

“It has been a great learning experience and you definitely see another side of the sport. It gives you a different perspective and an appreciation for all the little components which have to come together to make the event a success.”

The pair would recommend volunteering to other youth.

“To be able to leave a positive impact on the sport we love is really special,” Bisset said.

“Just email or message someone if you want to get involved. The worst they can say is no and you haven’t lost anything but you have everything to gain,” Soper added.

They have set their sights high, aiming to volunteer at the 2027 Netball World Cup. Soper will also join the action at the FIFA Women’s World Cup kicking off in July.

Their next assignment looms on Sunday when the Steel takes on the Avis Magic at ILT Stadium Southland.

“It’s the final showdown on our home turf and we need the fans out in force to boost the team towards the win we’ve all been seeking,” Soper said.

Steel chief executive Sonya Fleming said Soper and Bisset had been an integral part of the franchise’s dedicated volunteer group.

“They have joined a fantastic team of people who work alongside our staff to deliver events of the highest calibre for our community,” she said.

“Time is precious and we need to ensure we value and applaud those who give up theirs. The reality is we simply couldn’t do it without our volunteers across all aspects of the game – they are all such an important part of our team.”

The Steel was fortunate to have a hard-working crew of long-serving volunteers, including Rosie Cullen and Sally Jordan, who have each racked up several years behind the scenes, Justin Crosswell, Jen O’Connell and an enthusiastic group of ball personnel.

“They all bring a wealth of experience, plenty of good-natured humour and their professionalism is appreciated not only by the Steel, but all of the teams who compete here and interact with them,” Fleming said.

Caption: Hannah Soper and Hannah Bisset at an Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel game. Photo: Joe Allison, Allison Images


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