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Three promising youngsters have been named as Southern Steel official training partners.
Eighteen-year-old twins Kate and Georgia Heffernan and Taneisha Fifita (16) will link with the team for the 2018 ANZ Premiership preseason.
All three were in this year’s Netball South Beko League team and had been developed within the region.
"They are all very talented and I’m really excited to have them as part of our programme," Steel coach Reinga Bloxham said.
"They’ve come through our zone pathways, so are homegrown players who have worked their way up through the ranks.
"That does foster belief amongst our emerging players and reinforces there is a tangible pathway to reaching our elite teams."
Originally from Tapanui, the Heffernans had attended St Hilda’s Collegiate.
They were key in its back-to-back South Island netball titles the past two years, Kate proving dominant in the midcourt and Georgia an accurate shooter.
Both also have promising cricket careers.
Kate has already performed well for the Otago Sparks, although injury has seen Georgia yet to have a chance at that level.
Fifita was a formidable defender from Oamaru and attended Waitaki Girls’ High School.
The players would be useful in the preseason period, as the Silver Ferns would not always be around due to the Commonwealth Games and their preparation.
"Having the Silver Ferns coming in and out during the campaign is quite disruptive so our training partners will provide some stability with the numbers we need to train effectively," Bloxham said.
"They will be totally immersed in the whole programme to learn the ropes and see what it’s all about.
"They’ll definitely get to sweat, hurt, play, laugh and cry with the rest of the team.
"It really is a fantastic opportunity.
"Yes it’s tough and they have to work exceptionally hard but the rewards do come.
"Three of our Beko players from last season — Dani Gray, Olivia Bates and Aliyah Dunn — were seconded into the Steel squad at various stages and all earned full ANZ Premiership contracts for 2018 as a result."