Netball: Steel pushing each other to get better, Watson says

Jane Watson.
Jane Watson.
Jane Watson is enjoying having the winning feeling.

The Steel defender, who has been a key part of the side's success so far this season, has already achieved as many wins this year as she did in three seasons with the Tactix before heading south.

Watson joined the Steel last season and was part of the team which won only three matches despite qualifying for the playoffs.

Prior to that, the 26-year-old played for the Tactix from 2012 to 2014, a period in which the franchise won just five matches.

On Monday, the Steel will have a chance to win its fifth match in a row when it takes on the Pulse in Wellington.

"It feels really good,'' Watson said yesterday.

"I guess it's not always easy, though. We're getting put through our paces at training and are always pushing each other.

"We're still working hard week to week and pushing ourselves to get better.''

It is an attitude echoed by everyone within the Steel side - it is not getting ahead of itself and wants that winning feeling to continue.

The side aimed for a top-four finish at the start of the season and, judging by results so far, that should be the minimum.

Watson said it was hard to explain what had driven the turnaround.

"I don't know if you can really pinpoint any one thing.

"The majority of the girls have been together a long time now and that definitely helps.

"We've got a great team culture and everyone gets on really well.''

Watson's form for the Steel has been so strong it could result in higher honours later this season.

Along with goal attack Te Paea Selby-Rickit, she has been touted as a Silver Ferns prospect, and her case will be strengthened if she continues to rack up the numbers she has been so far.

She has formed a formidable defensive combination with Storm Purvis, and has the fifth-most intercepts in the competition with 13 and the sixth-most deflections with 26.

Similar to reflecting on her side's success, Watson was unable to fully explain what had driven her strong form.

"I'm definitely playing more consistently than other years.

"I guess I'm another year older, and another year used to what's going on.

"I'm more used to what I have to do to succeed.

"My goals at the moment are on this season and on how well we're going.

"If I get selected [for New Zealand], I'll attack that if or when it happens, but I just want to keep performing and being consistent.''

Watson was replaced by Te Huinga Selby-Rickit at halftime in the third-round match against the Magic, a change which coincided with a huge second half and a convincing win.

Watson responded in her next outing with a game-high seven intercepts, and Selby-Rickit, a 90-match veteran, has hardly been seen since.

"Every game you play, you try and play your best and sometimes it doesn't go your way.

"It's always competitive at training to see who will get the start.

"It's nice to have that competition because she is a great player.

"I'm lucky enough to be getting the starts at the moment and I hope that continues.''

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