Extra drive for Steel

Reinga Bloxham.
Reinga Bloxham.
A new campaign has begun, although the last one has not been forgotten.

Last season's upset elimination-final loss to the Northern Stars provided some added motivation as the Southern Steel reassembled on Friday.

It is less than a month until the side takes the court on December 8 in Nelson, at this year's Super Club tournament.

Coach Reinga Bloxham said preparing for that was the primary focus.

However, the bigger picture was not being lost in that.

For the returners, it was not hard to find an extra drive this time around.

''We had a look at some of the pictures the other day in our team meeting and we really will use that as motivation, I suppose, to make sure that's not how we end our season,'' she said of the elimination final.

''I think we were really disappointed in the way it ended; it wasn't what we were hoping for.

''So I think, going forward, hopefully it can be used in a positive light for us.''

The side is without Silver Ferns Gina Crampton and Shannon Saunders for now.

They will return at the end of the month, having finished with the national team only at the end of last month.

Training partners Kiana Pelasio, Della-May McDermott and Kate Hartley are also with the team.

New import Khalifa McCollin, from Trinidad and Tobago, flew in on Sunday and was easing into training.

Bloxham hoped to have the team fit by the time Super Club began.

There the side will play three pool games in as many days, before a semifinal and final following a day off in the middle.

The six ANZ Premiership sides will feature, as will the Collingwood Magpies (Australia) and Wasps (England).

Now in its third year, it was the first time the Super Club was being held in December.

In the previous two years it had been tagged on to the end of the ANZ Premiership season and had been used as something of a wind down.

While positioned between two seasons this time, Bloxham said she thought the timing worked well.

''I actually like the purpose of Super Club this year.

''Obviously the Silver Ferns selectors are going to be looking at people for that tour in January.

''It has a real purpose for people to be able to turn up to make sure they're in a physical condition to be able to play and put their hand up for that Silver Ferns selection.

''It's not at the end of the season when it can be in that awkward position.

''I think, for me, I'm really looking at giving the players as much court time as possible and just getting some combinations out on court and seeing what that looks like.''

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