Southern Steel recruits fine-tuning their connections in Australia

Two of the Southern Steel’s new recruits are getting their connections in sync in Australia.

Sarahpheinna Woulf and Ali Wilshier are playing for the USC Thunder on the Sunshine Coast in a Queensland state league.

Woulf, a nuggety player capable of filling all three defensive positions, has been part of the Sunshine Coast Lightning squad in Super Netball.

Wilshier, a midcourter who was last year’s Beko League player of the year, made the trip across the Tasman just over three months ago.

"At the end of July I came over to Aussie when the Beko Netball League got cancelled due to Covid-19," Wilshier said.

"I still wanted to keep playing and this opportunity came up, which has been amazing.

"It’s really exciting Sarahpheinna and I are both coming over to New Zealand to play together. She’s an awesome player and person and to carry that connection on with her will be really cool."

She has added an extra dimension of living with retired Silver Ferns star Laura Langman.

“It’s been really awesome to have a familiar face over here.

"It’s been a little bit difficult moving away from family as they can’t come and see me, so she has been a really massive help both on and off the court.”

Woulf, meanwhile, is looking to take her game to a new level when she links up with the Steel.

She had been working her way back after rupturing her anterior cruciate ligament in 2018.

"Rehab was the hardest thing I have been through. It is a mental battle and [involves] pushing through the hard times.

"It has definitely made me stronger mentally. You just have to pick yourself up. It’s only you and you’re the one that has to push yourself. I have definitely come back stronger."

Despite that she was excited for her move south, although it had not quite sunk in yet.

"It hasn’t really hit me yet that I’m coming [to the Steel], but I’m really excited.

"I knew for me if I wanted to improve my netball, I needed to step outside of my comfort zone, which this certainly is. I’m nervous but very excited."

The duo are two of five new faces in next year’s Steel squad.

Also among the fresh faces are Tiana Metuarau, Renee Savai’inaea and George Fisher.

The Steel will gather for its pre-season in the new year.

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