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South African goal shoot Lenize Potgieter has signed with the team for 2019 — one of seven signings the side announced yesterday.
The 24-year-old moves south from the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic, where she has spent the past two years.
One of the ANZ Premiership’s dominant players of the past two seasons, she made 558 goals at an accuracy of 92% this season.
She adds more quality to an already impressive shooting combination of Te Paea Selby-Rickit and Jennifer O’Connell, who have both re-signed.
It is a good problem to have, although managing court time could be one of coach Reinga Bloxham’s biggest challenges.
"I think with somebody like Lenize, it’s about providing opportunities to have a go and get out on court and see how she can integrate herself within our team," Bloxham said.
"The other important aspect is that Jen and Te Paea did a really good job for us this year and it’s important to make sure they’re provided the same opportunity.
"So I think it’s nice to have that healthy competition and for players to keep pushing themselves and grow their game."
Taking those opportunities would be crucial, and while increased depth was handy for the periods of congested games, Bloxham did admit she likes a settled line-up.
Potgieter said the culture of the Steel had been an attraction, while she also thought she could grow her game with the team.
Those were things the franchise put emphasis on and Bloxham said it was great recognition to get.
"It sort of validates those things you do well, for someone on the outside wanting to come in and be part of that, it speaks volumes.
"She understands we’ve got quality players within our team that she thinks will help and grow her game.
"I think it’s really important as players and coaches we’re thinking about how to improve and get better.
"So it’s nice to have someone come in and say we want to be part of this."
Also re-signing were midcourters Gina Crampton and Shannon Francois, as well as defenders Courtney Elliott and Te Huinga Reo Selby-Rickit.
Bloxham was thrilled to re-sign all but the retiring Wendy Frew from her starting line-up.
Given the short turnaround to next season, that consistency would help in preparing for next season.
Three spots remain and while Bloxham would not give any names, she thought fans in the south would be happy with the signings.
First signings for 2019
Lenize Potgieter, Jennifer O’Connell, Te Paea Selby-Rickit, Gina Crampton, Shannon Francois, Te Huinga Reo Selby-Rickit, Courtney Elliott.