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The Southern Steel missed out on a place in the ANZ Premiership final when it fell to a 54-49 loss to the Tactix in the elimination final in Invercargill on Sunday night.
But yesterday, as the team nursed its bruised pride, there was a lovely pick-me-up in the form of some news about star shooter George Fisher.
The Steel has launched its 2022 recruitment drive by securing the English ace for another season.
Fisher’s goals — 585 from 640 attempts, at the world-class rate of 91% — played a pivotal role in the Steel’s success this season.
It turns out she enjoyed more than just the time on the court.
Fisher said she was "super excited" at the prospect of returning to Invercargill next year.
"When I came over I was so nervous that I was going to miss home and kept telling myself ‘it’s only six months’. Now I don’t want to leave. I love everything about it.
"When they said to me about coming back, it was a definite yes. It wasn’t a hard decision at all.
"I think Shannon (Saunders) summed it up perfectly the other day when she said she had never been part of a team culture like this. Literally everyone genuinely likes each other and has each other’s backs. We don’t just train together, we hang out. It’s awesome."
Fisher ventured to New Zealand determined to evolve as a player.
"I think I’ve had a very interesting season. I’ve had some games which I’m super, super happy with and some not so much," she said.
"The main reason for me coming here personally was to learn and that is something I’ve done absolutely loads of. From watching my first game to watching now, it’s literally completely different. What I’m most happy about is genuinely how much my game has changed and how I have grown.
"I’m seeing things, the way I move and hold — it’s all so different and that’s what I wanted. I’m really happy with the way it’s gone so far.
"Something I’ve learned this season actually is that being in the hurt box is a fun place to be. Before I kind of shied away from it but it’s really good."
The Steel had exceeded the expectations of netball pundits and Fisher was confident it was the start of something special.
"Everyone just wrote us off so hard, so it’s nice that we can just be ‘nah, we’re a real good side’."
Steel chief executive Lana Winders was delighted to secure Fisher’s signature.
"It was great to have that commitment from George early in the contracting process,’’ Winders said.
‘‘It’s just created a real anchor for the conversations I’m having with other players as part of our recruitment.
"We’re thoroughly enjoying having George in our environment. She’s developed an amazing understanding within our attacking ranks and I think that has strengthened her game and added even more to her vast range of skills as the season has progressed."