Dunedin fans set to finally see Steel in action

Shannon Saunders in action for the Southern Steel earlier this year. Photo: Getty Images
Shannon Saunders in action for the Southern Steel earlier this year. Photo: Getty Images
Dunedin netball fans will be hoping for third time lucky this weekend.

All going well they will get to see the Southern Steel on court for the first time since April 24, 2019.

The side is set to host the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic at the Edgar Centre on Sunday.

It was never intended to be that long a break.

Dunedin had been scheduled to host two matches last year.

The first of those, a loss against the Magic, was played in an empty arena. As Covid-19 took hold around the world, it was announced just hours before the game fans would not be able to attend.

It was the only round played before the three month break caused by the pandemic.

After initially being played out of Auckland, the ANZ Premiership returned to home and away matches late in the season.

A match against the Mainland Tactix had been scheduled for Dunedin in August. But again a late rise in alert levels around New Zealand interfered and the game was cancelled.

It is a very different Steel team to the one that last played in the city. Only Shannon Saunders, Te Huinga Reo Selby-Rickit and Kate Heffernan remain from the line-up that beat the Northern Mystics in their last outing in front of a Dunedin crowd.

The new-look team has started the season well, though.

It has won four of its seven games and is coming off an impressive 63-58 victory over the Mystics in Auckland.

However, it remains in search of back-to-back wins.

The Magic promised plenty entering the season, although after seven games has managed just one win.

It has threats right through the court, though, and is by no means an easy beat.

In Australian Caitlin Bassett it has a world class shooter, while Sam Winders is among the premiership’s best midcourters.

And, defensively, it boasts a potent duo in Temalisi Fakahokotau and Erena Mikaere.

The match will begin at 4.15pm.

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