Five new names in Steel squad

New Southern Steel shooter George Rose. Photo: Getty Images
New Southern Steel shooter George Rose. Photo: Getty Images
A new-look Southern Steel team will take the court next season.

The side has unveiled five new faces in its 10-player squad for next season’s ANZ Premiership.

English international George Fisher is joined by a young quartet of Tiana Metuarau, Renee Savai’inaea, Ali Wilshier and Sarahpheinna Woulf.

Wing attack Gina Crampton is the biggest loss, moving to the Northern Stars.

Also missing is defender Abby Erwood, midcourter Kendall Corkery and injured shooting duo Jennifer O’Connell and Georgia Heffernan.

The knee injuries to the shooting pair left the biggest hole from last year and it is there that the side looks to be freshest.

Fisher (21) has played 12 tests for England, having debuted as a 19-year-old.

Meanwhile Tiana Metuarau moves south after four years at the Central Pulse, accumulating more than 50 appearances by the young age of 19.

Kiana Pelasio, who was Heffernan’s injury replacement this year, has also earned a full contract.

The midcourt will continue to be anchored by Silver Fern Shannon Saunders and the promising Kate Heffernan.

Another former Pulse youngster joins them in Savai’inaea, while Wilshier was the 2019 Beko League player of the year and moves south from Waikato Bay of Plenty.

The defensive circle retains the experience of Te Huinga Reo Selby-Rickit, while Taneisha Fifita also returns.

Sarahpheinna Woulf, who has previously played for the Sunshine Coast Lightning, joins them.

Steel chief executive Lana Winders said it had been a tough recruitment period after the losses of last season.

"It’s been a recruitment drive like no other.

"At the shooting end they are new and young but possess strong elite netball experience, whilst our midcourt welcomes two new midcourt specialists and our defence end will be familiar to Steel fans with the addition of a new third circle defender to complete the team."

Head coach Reinga Bloxham said it had been important to keep the core of the team together as much as it could.

That helped drive the culture and expectations within the group.

However, she did admit it would be a fresh look.

“I think we will look quite different in 2021," she said.

"When you lose two shooters in the season, we were always going to be recruiting really hard to find two shooters to replace Jennifer and Georgia.

"The fact that we have been able to recruit some really strong shooters who are still up-and-coming is going to be exciting to see."

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