Home support going to be crucial for Steel

Reinga Bloxham.
Reinga Bloxham
"Hmmm" came the response.

It has been that kind of season for the Steel.

It is a side used to being at the top of the table not jostling for position at the other end.

Its 37-36 loss to the Magic in Auckland on Monday could have been avoided had the team not made so many errors in the final quarter.

Coach Reinga Bloxham initially found words hard to come by when asked for her thoughts on the game.

"Hmmm," she began.

"It was a real sort of scrappy game, to be honest, where neither team got any flow.

"It was quite frustrating for it to end that way and not to be able to come away with the win.

"We had a patch in that last quarter where we didn’t score for about four minutes which is an extremely long time.

"That was due to errors we made ourselves rather than it being about what was being thrown at us.

"We put ourselves under a lot of pressure and gave them a chance to come back into the game."

There has to be some sympathy for the Steel.

It has had two shooters ruled out with injury and another carried a niggle into the game against the Magic.

Kalifa McCollin was nursing an ankle complaint she had picked up a week earlier.

Also, Silver Ferns midcourter Shannon Saunders woke up with a sore neck on the morning of the 50-43 loss against the Northern Stars and spent the majority of the match on the bench.

Maybe it was the pillow? That should not be a problem this week.

The Invercargill-based Steel players will get to spend the night in their own beds before the team’s match against the Mystics on Friday.

It is just the Steel’s second home game this season and first at its spiritual base at Stadium Southland.

It plays the Pulse the following evening at the same venue before completing the round-robin with a match against the Tactix in Dunedin next weekend.

It is a tough finish to what has been a challenging campaign. But the Steel will be able to draw some energy from its home crowds.

"Being able to go home and play in front of the crowd at Stadium Southland and then again at the Edgar Centre is going to be amazing.

"It is something that we’ve really been looking forward to ... and it will give us that little bit of energy that we need right now.

"After coming off two losses like that, the morale of a team and individuals can be quite low, so that home support is going to be crucial for us."

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