If at first you don't succeed...

New Southern Steel coach Reinga Bloxham. Photo supplied.
New Southern Steel coach Reinga Bloxham. Photo supplied.
Missing out on the Southern Steel head coaching job last season may well have been a blessing in disguise for new Steel coach Reinga Bloxham.

Bloxham (41) was confirmed yesterday as the head coach of the southern franchise after three years as assistant coach - two years under Janine Southby and the 2016 season with Noeline Taurua at the helm.

Bloxham applied for the role of coaching the Steel in the 2016 ANZ Championship, but as she reflected on gaining the top job this week, she felt it was the best outcome to experience a year shadowing and supporting Taurua.

''Looking back, I'm really pleased I had the opportunity to work underneath her,'' Bloxham said.

''I was really lucky working underneath Janine - she's a really good coach - and seeing how she does things and her processes.

''Then having the opportunity to work under Noels [Taurua] as well with her experience and quite a different style of coaching compared to Janine . . . I got the best of both worlds and was really lucky. I've had some good foundations set underneath me.''

Once Taurua announced her plans to leave the Steel, Bloxham did not stew on the prospect of applying for the vacant role.

''It didn't take me long at all once I knew that Noels was heading away - I knew I wanted to have a crack at it,'' she said.

''I just thought I've got nothing to lose and it was something I was aiming towards.''

The former midcourter for the Southern Sting in 1998-99, 2001-02 and 2004 has absorbed plenty of information during her three years as an assistant, and has developed more confidence in herself as a coach.

''When you're in that high performance environment, there are some times that you can feel quite inadequate with where you're at,'' she admitted.

''Sometimes you go in there and wonder 'actually, why am I here?', but the good thing about it is that you're always learning and you're not expected to have all the answers.

''That's the biggest thing for me is that it's OK - there are lots of people out there that are going to help you and it's part of your journey and just keep your options open and take on board as much information as you can so you become a better coach and a better person.''

Bloxham, who was born and raised in the Southland town of Wyndham, said planning was her main focus over the next few months.

''One of the things that I've found in the last couple of days is that the planning phase is extremely important, so I've hit the ground running.''

Bloxham was part of the group which ensured much of the 2016 Steel squad was retained for this year, and she is thrilled by the strength of the squad ahead of the ANZ Netball Elite League

''It's a massive advantage. With the squads having to be named so early, that's one of the things Noels and I and a group of people helping us wanted to identify and get those core players as much as we could.

''Not knowing who the coach was going to be, but whoever it was was going to have a really strong team to be competitive with in this new competition, so that was an absolute key task for us and I was really pleased with the players we were able to maintain.''

The hardest part of this week, since learning of her elevation, had been swearing her son, Te Kannu (16), and daughter, Maraea (11), to secrecy.

Bloxham hopes to get the squad together before Christmas or early in January.

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