It might only be the pre-season but the Steel has broken
through a psychological barrier with its first win against an
Australian team across the Tasman.
The Steel had a gutsy 36-35 win against the Swifts in
Melbourne yesterday morning.
Since the ANZ Championship's inception in 2008, the Steel has
struggled against Australian opponents away from New Zealand.
The victory banishes a long-standing bogey, even if it is
only a pre-season fixture.
Jamaican shooter Jhaniele Fowler had a big impact when she
came on with two quarters remaining. The 1.98m international
missed just one of her 21 attempts and helped her side claw
back a five-goal halftime deficit.
The Steel came agonisingly close to adding another Australian
scalp to its tally before succumbing to the West Coast Fever
41-40 in the later game.
A rugged tussle from the outset, a slim two-goal buffer was
the greatest margin achieved during the first half and the
score was deadlocked 23-23 at halftime.
Youngster Phoenix Karaka was then thrust into the action at
goal keep and displayed a maturity beyond her 18 years to
hassle one of the world's best in Australian Diamond
Catherine Cox. Bolstered by a confident display from Fowler,
Jodi Brown, Courtney Tairi and Phillipa Finch on attack,
Steel nudged ahead to hold a 33-28 advantage going into the
But a handful of errors early in the phase proved costly as
the Fever racked up five unanswered goals to lock it up 36-36
with four minutes remaining. Swooping on any available
possession, the Fever clung to the narrowest advantage until
the final whistle.