Netball: Rasmussen completes Steel defence selection

Northern Mystics defender Rachel Rasmussen looks forward to joining the Steel for next year's ANZ Championship. Photo by NZ Herald.
Northern Mystics defender Rachel Rasmussen looks forward to joining the Steel for next year's ANZ Championship. Photo by NZ Herald.

The Steel has filled one of the two remaining spots on its roster with tenacious defender Rachel Rasmussen.

Rasmussen, who has represented Samoa, is a former New Zealand age group representative and was part of the New Zealand side that won the gold medal in the world fastnet series in Liverpool in 2010.

The 28-year-old spent four seasons (2008, 2009, 2011 and 2012) with the Northern Mystics and filled in for Silver Ferns defender Katrina Grant at the Central Pulse in 2010.

Rasmussen will join fellow defenders Storm Purvis, Sulu Tone-Fitzpatrick and Phoenix Karaka at the Steel.

"I'm very excited and a little bit nervous at the same time," Rasmussen said in a press release.

"They've got an exciting bunch of young talent in there and some great experience as well, so it's a good mix" she said.

"I'm really looking forward to sharing the knowledge I have but I know in turn I will learn a lot from the young defenders as well. I have a few things in the old bag of tricks to share."

Mother to two children aged 8 and 6, Rasmussen was preparing to move the family to join her partner in Perth in January, but a call from Steel prompted a change of plans.

"Playing for Steel really was too good an opportunity to pass up," she said.

"Living in Invercargill is going to be a different environment for this city girl. But I know from talking to Sheryl Scanlan and Paula Griffin that they really enjoyed their time down there being part of the community, so it will be awesome.

"With the exception of netball games, the furthest south I've been is probably Blenheim."

The Steel has three shooters on the books: Jodi Brown, Te Paea Selby-Rickit and Kate Shearer are confirmed for 2012. The franchise has yet to use up its import slot and has promised to deliver a shooter with significant international experience.

• The Central Pulse have secured the services of former Silver Fern Liana Leota to go alongside fellow recruit Donna Wilkins after they confirmed their squad of 12, APNZ reported yesterday.

Wilkins shot 90.2% for the Steel this year and has represented New Zealand in both netball and basketball, while fellow former Silver Fern mid-courter Leota was named MVP in the 2010 ANZ Championship.

Leota has been living in England, where her husband Johnny plays rugby for the Sale Sharks, but is looking forward to her return and joining up with the Pulse for 2013.