Eyes on the future for Steel in 2019

Reinga Bloxham.
Reinga Bloxham.
Development will figure large for the Southern Steel this year.

Several promising talents from the region will join some familiar faces in both coaching and playing capacities.

Invercargill's Jess Huia has joined the team as an apprentice coach.

She most recently coached the Invercargill under-19 team and the Aotearoa Maori secondary school team.

Head coach Reinga Bloxham said her new ideas and drills had been of value, as was having her as a different voice.

Meanwhile former assistant coach Lauren Piebenga returns as a specialist coach.

That enables her to continue coaching the Beko League's Southern Blast team - the Steel's feeder team.

Former captain Wendy Frew - who retired last season - will also remain involved and help where possible.

Meanwhile shooter Georgia Heffernan and defender Taneisha Fifita both return as training partners for a second year.

They are joined by shooter Jess Allan, who played for the side at last year's Super Club competition.

Three apprentice players will also experience high performance aspects of the Steel environment and attend various training sessions.

They include Southland Girls' High School talents Kate Hartley and Holly Munro, as well as Phys Ed defender Laura Overton.

Bloxham said while the team's primary focus was the present, it was important to plan ahead.

''Absolutely we focus on the task at hand when it comes to the present season, but we also need to future-proof for the sustainability of our franchise,'' she said.

''It's always exciting to be able to bring new people into our environment as they all have something valuable to contribute in their own way.

''They provide a new energy and enthusiasm, and as a coach you just want to keep feeding off that.''

She added that the focus was on building strength and developing players within the southern zone.

That enabled pathways to the top to be clearer, while giving younger players a taster of the top level.

The team has its first official hit-out this weekend, as it faces the Mainland Tactix in preseason games on both Saturday and Sunday in Ashburton.

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