Southern Steel goal shoot Jhaniele Fowler jumps high for
the ball during her team's pre-season game against the NZPA
Legends team at the Edgar Centre in Dunedin on Saturday.
Photo by Linda Robertson.
The problem with having a dream is it usually involves
some kind of sacrifice.
That is certainly the case for towering Jamaican shooter and
Steel recruit Jhaniele Fowler.
It has been her dream to play in the ANZ Championship and she
leaped at the opportunity to play for the Steel when coach
Janine Southby made the approach.
But the tallest player in the competition has had to give up
more than most. She has left behind 3-year-old daughter
Drehannah and partner Andre Reid. She will also miss out on
Jamaica's series against England in April.
''When I see kids around, it tears me up a lot,'' Fowler
''It is hard knowing she is back home and I'm here. But I'm
trying to give this a go.
''We Skype a lot and we talk over the phone a lot.''
On a happier note, the 23-year-old has a rather exciting
event planned for December. Fowler and Reid are getting
married, and when asked how preparations were going, a broad
smile was followed by a shy giggle and a brief explanation.
''Who told you that?'' she laughed.
''Yes, I'm getting married.
''It is a long story. We've been together over five years
now,'' she replied when asked about their romance.
As hard as it must be to focus, right now her attention is on
netball and the Steel's campaign.
The team's opening game is against the Queensland Firebirds
in Brisbane on Sunday and Fowler is looking forward to her
''It means a real lot. I've always wanted to play elite
netball and having a chance to play in the best league in the
world is awesome.''
Fowler arrived in Invercargill in late January and has been
pleasantly surprised by the weather, although most days have
been like winter in tropical Jamaica.
Everyone recognises her, of course. There are not too many
almost 2m tall Jamaican women spotted on Dee St.
''I stick out, of course. But the people are warm and
welcoming. People come up and say 'Hi' and know who I am
Fowler was outstanding in the Steel's hit-out against the
NZPA Legends team in Dunedin on Saturday.
She landed 43 of her 47 attempts on goal and her height makes
getting her the ball a relatively simple process of lobbing
it in her direction.
Steel captain and fellow shooter Jodi Brown is one of the
best passing goal attacks in world netball and she quickly
racked up the assists, hurling in passes from all over the
The length of Fowler's stride means she basically shoots nine
out of every 10 shots from right under the net. Shooting is a
loose description, really. At her height, she can put the
ball in with the help of a little skip.
While her combination with Brown is still a work in progress,
Fowler is optimistic about the season ahead.
''Our goal is to make the top six and I think we are well on
our way to get there.''