Metuarau key part of Steel attack

Southern Steel goal attack Tiana Metuarau passes into the circle as Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic...
Southern Steel goal attack Tiana Metuarau passes into the circle as Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic wing defence Holly Fowler chases her during last Sunday's game at the Edgar Centre. PHOTO: MICHAEL BRADLEY PHOTOGRAPHY
Tiana Metuarau was well aware outside expectations were low for the Southern Steel this year.

The new-look side was not supposed to win many games.

That was reinforced as it struggled through seven losses in its pre-season.

But it quickly put the ANZ Premiership on notice with a win over the then favourite Mainland Tactix on opening weekend.

It has since shown its best and worse, accumulating five wins from eight games and last week finally stringing two wins together.

One of five new players in the Steel line-up, Metuarau (20) has formed a key partnership with George Fisher in the Steel’s shooting circle.

It had made the team’s attack as potent as any in the competition.

The shock value is clearly gone.

Indeed the second time the side faced the Tactix it copped a backlash and was well beaten in Invercargill.

But the side has had two wins since then and has grown with every week.

As the Steel heads to Nelson to play its third and final match against its South Island rival on Monday, it will look to keep that growth going.

Metuarau said that ability to keep improving had been key for the Steel and she felt there was more to come.

"We were in a pretty fortunate position in that respect; no-one expected anything of us," the goal attack said.

"I think we came into the season not having won a single quarter, which is kind of sad but to see where we are now is a testament to the potential that we had.

"And still to see we can still do so much more is quite exciting."

Metuarau arrived in Dunedin this year, having moved south after four years with her home-town Central Pulse.

After debuting as a teenager, her game time had been limited with the two-time defending champion side.

So she moved to seek a greater opportunity.

That is something she has found and, alongside more time on court, she is enjoying the coaching she is getting at the Steel.

While not a high-volume shooter, she has shown a classy passing game.

That has been key and has helped goal shoot George Fisher connect on 353 goals, second in the league behind the Northern Mystics’ Grace Nweke.

"It’s not so much a focus, it’s just something I’ve always done," Metuarau said.

"I try not to read into stats too much. I try not to let numbers dictate my performance.

"There are certain things each goal attack in this league can do and I guess that’s just one of my strengths.

"I try to keep everyone interested and do my jobs and complement the shooter."

That will be crucial as the Steel looks to navigate the Tactix defensive duo of Jane Watson and Karin Burger.

Metuarau is looking forward to the challenge they posed, although said it was important the Steel played well as a collective.

The game begins at 8.15pm.

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