'Mental toughness' crucial if Steel to bounce back

Te Huinga Reo Selby-Rickit
Te Huinga Reo Selby-Rickit
There will be no shortage of motivation in the Southern Steel camp tomorrow.

Not only is it coming off a 16-goal loss to the Central Pulse, it has its first chance to avenge its opening loss of the season.

It plays the Northern Stars in Auckland, which are also coming off a hefty loss to the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic.

Co-captain Te Huinga Reo Selby-Rickit said the Steel had been particularly disappointed with certain aspects of its loss.

Two second-half lulls in particular had left it "really not happy" as it prided itself on not letting teams get on those runs.

Once they happened, mistakes compounded and everything fell to pieces at once, something the team needed to address.

"I guess it’s about mental toughness.

"What happens is we all go down in a lull at the same time.

"Whereas we should be able to see one person might be having a lull and the rest need to pick themselves up until that person works themselves back into the game.

"That’s what happens in netball, people go into lulls.

"I think our issue at the moment is we all do it at the same time."

Tomorrow will give a better indication of where the Steel is at relative to the start of the season.

It is clearly behind the Pulse and a reasonable margin ahead of the rest of the pack.

However, the Stars offer a measuring stick. They upset the Steel by two goals in their last meeting and both teams have five wins on the board.

How tomorrow’s game goes should provide a good chance for comparison.

A close game may be likely.

Three of the last four games between the sides have been decided by three goals or fewer.

Selby-Rickit said the Stars looked after possession well, which made them tough to play against.

"Last year I think we beat them by less than three twice and then we lost to them.

"As a defender, I find they are very hard to get the ball off.

"When we’re not getting a lot of turnover ball you’re so reliant on your attackers to score — luckily for us they do.

"But as a full-court defence we need to pick it up and turn over a lot of ball.

"I don’t think we have in the past. Our gains have been really low against the Stars."

The Steel has a short turnaround from Wednesday night. That meant it was limited in the amount of training it could do in preparation.

However, Selby-Rickit said it could be good to get straight back into it after a loss.

She felt both sides would be wanting to fix their problems from the last game and was expecting a tough challenge.

ANZ Premiership

Auckland, Sunday, 4.10pm

Southern Steel: Gina Crampton, Shannon Saunders, Kate Heffernan, Kendall McMinn, Te Huinga Reo Selby-Rickit, Abby Erwood, Courtney Elliott, Lenize Potgieter, Jennifer O’Connell, Te Paea Selby-Rickit. 

Northern Stars: Maia Wilson, Charlee Hodges, Ellen Halpenny, Leana de Bruin, Storm Purvis, Kayla Cullen, Kate Burley, Mila Reuelu-Buchanan, Holly Fowler, Temepara Bailey.


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