Steel happy to be on home turf

New Southern Steel co-captains Gina Crampton and Te Huinga Reo Selby-Rickit. Photo: Supplied
Southern Steel co-captains Gina Crampton and Te Huinga Reo Selby-Rickit. Photo: Supplied
Te Huinga Reo Selby-Rickit is glad to be home - now she cannot wait to play there.

The Southern Steel's new co-captain led the side through a hectic start to the ANZ Premiership season.

Three games on the road in the space of a week was as tough a challenge as the Steel could ask for.

However, a break of nine days and a return to Invercargill has the side refreshed.

Tonight it plays the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic in its first appearance in front of the Southland crowd this year.

Selby-Rickit said the side was looking forward to it and was confident the crowd would give it an edge.

"There's nothing quite like our home crowd, they kind of lift you.

"We're three games in and kind of getting back into it again after our time off - it's perfect timing to go home, get that lift we need and hopefully play well for them."

The first three games had provided a new experience for Selby-Rickit.

Alongside Gina Crampton she was co-captaining the Steel, filling the big hole left by stalwart Wendy Frew.

The duo did most things together, but alternated who captained each game for formalities such as the coin toss.

On court the team encouraged everyone to step up and lead, although she was more conscious of it now having the captain tag.

"It's been really good, actually.

"I've never been captain of a team like this before, so to go in with someone by you so you're not doing everything by yourself.

"I don't mind all the court stuff, but it's all the other stuff I'm not too used to.

"So having Gina there to talk to and ask about things and go into things together, it's been really good and I'm so happy she's with me."

The side was hoping to push on after two impressive wins in its last games.

While last year it often made hard work of its wins, this season it has done a better job of putting teams away.

That was shown in its winning margins - 19 and 20 - and getting better each quarter was key for Selby-Rickit.

The Magic had lost two of its first three matches, but beat the Northern Stars and stuck with the Central Pulse until the fourth quarter.

It has a strong defensive duo in Casey Kopua and Kelly Jury, while Sam Sinclair leads the midcourt.

However, as a defender it is the shooting duo of Monica Falkner and Abigail Latu-Meafou Selby-Rickit will be most wary of.

She felt both had stepped up well in the absence of last season's ace Lenize Potgieter, who has joined the Steel.

"I've been really impressed with them.

"So for us it's just analysing them and making sure we stick to our gameplan and making sure we shut them down early.

"If they get a sniff they go with it, so shutting them down early and really pushing at the beginning and holding on to it for the whole game [will be key]."

In yesterday's game, the Central Pulse beat the Mainland Tactix 52-40.


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