Netball: Selby-Rickit making most of chances

Veteran defender Te Huinga Selby-Rickit is enjoying being back in the Steel starting line-up....
Veteran defender Te Huinga Selby-Rickit is enjoying being back in the Steel starting line-up. Photo by Linda Robertson.

She may have played nearly 100 ANZ Championship games but Steel defender Te Huinga Selby-Rickit admits she was affected by nerves when she was thrust back on to the court a few weeks ago.

The veteran defender saw precious little court time during the middle stages of the Steel's unbeaten campaign, before being called on to play the second half of the match against the Mystics in Dunedin three weeks ago.

Prior to that, Selby-Rickit had played less than a quarter of a game netball in over a month, having not been required for three consecutive matches and also sitting out a bye round.

When she came on for fellow defender Storm Purvis at the Edgar Centre on May 29, it marked the first time she had taken the court since coming on late in the Steel's fourth-round match five weeks earlier.

The 27-year-old is no stranger to top-level netball, having played in every year of the transtasman competition, and survival instinct kicked in when she re-entered the fray.

"When I came on against the Mystics, I was like, 'Oh my God, I haven't played in three games'.

"I was actually quite nervous. You get a bit worried that you're not going to know what you're doing.

"But I've been in this competition since it began so, for me, I didn't realise at the time, but when you've been there that long, you sort of know what you're supposed to do.''

Selby-Rickit, who rejoined the Steel this year after spending the past four seasons with the Pulse, started her first game of the season against the Tactix in Christchurch the following week when Purvis was ruled out with illness.

She did not miss the opportunity and, with Purvis still struggling with the illness, the 95-game veteran has stamped her mark on the side.

She has started the past three matches and has been influential at the back, pulling in seven intercepts in the past two matches as the Steel continues its march towards the playoffs.

But it was not all about starting, Selby-Rickit said.

She came on at halftime in the Steel's first three matches and said starting from the bench was actually an advantage.

"Luckily, I get to watch, so it's not like you go on there and have to just figure out what you're doing while you're playing, which is quite hard for me.

"I could sit there and see what the shooters were doing, what the attackers were doing, and then come on and try to stop it.

"You learn how to read a game. You watch what works for players and what doesn't work.''

Selby-Rickit is in line to play her 50th match for the Steel against the Swifts in Sydney on July 2, and can bring up 100 ANZ Championship matches if the Steel makes it to the final and she plays every game from here on in.

Whether that was starting or from the bench, Selby-Rickit did not mind.

"For me, I don't want to be a starter just for starting's sake. I want to be there because I'm good enough to be there.

"And it's the game plan [that's important]. I might go better against a certain player. Stormy or Jane [Watson] or Abby [Erwood] might go better against a certain player.

"Either way, I want to be focused on the game and ready to go on.''

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