Netball: 'Teal Army' heading north

Katrina Grant, Otago netball Steel defender. Photo by Adrian Seconi.
Katrina Grant, Otago netball Steel defender. Photo by Adrian Seconi.
Three busloads of Southlanders are destined for the Lion Foundation Arena would likely have been described as an invasion of sorts last year.

Now the "Teal Army" is just part of the Steel's home crowd and any lingering resentment from the days when the Southern Sting used to routinely dispatch the Otago Rebels will be put on hold.

The influx of netball fans into the city should go a long way towards ensuring the Otago-Southland combined side's first game in Dunedin on Monday will be sold out.

Franchise chief executive Julie Paterson yesterday said about 2400 tickets had been sold for the game against the West Coast Fever and she expected the remaining 400 seats would be occupied come game day.

"We're really pleased with the ticket sales," she said. "I'm pretty confident it will go close to selling out. Sales are still quite strong."

For the Dunedin-based players there will be a touch of irony today. Katrina Grant, Debbie White and Jessica Tuki will make the regular trek down to Invercargill for practice because the Steel was unable to get any court time at the Lion Foundation Arena.

The trio will then join their team-mates and travel back to Dunedin tonight.

Tomorrow morning Steel fans have an opportunity to meet their favourite players up close. The Steel will be signing autographs at the Meridian Mall from 11.30am to 12.45pm.

Goal attack Megan Dehn will travel with the Steel but she has been replaced in the squad for the game with former Silver Ferns shooter turned television presenter Tania Dalton.

Dehn is still struggling with the ankle injury she suffered during the 41-29 win over the Central Pulse two weeks ago.

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