Time for Steel to lift intensity: Bloxham

Reinga Bloxham.
Reinga Bloxham.
Time to lift the intensity.

Phase one is complete and now the hard work really begins for the Southern Steel.

The squad, minus Silver Ferns Gina Crampton and Shannon Saunders, has regathered following its Christmas break.

It is still two months out from the season and the side is looking to lift its level.

The pre-Christmas Super Club tournament gave it a good gauge on where it is at.

Fitness had been a big focus up until then.

However, that would not ease off as it prepares for its first ANZ Premiership match on March 16 against the Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic in Dunedin.

‘‘I don’t think it gets any easier in terms of fitness, I think it amps up a bit more,’’ coach Reinga Bloxham said.

‘‘I think it gave them a good foundation going into that and then hopefully they’ve been able to hold it over the break and then it takes a step up in intensity.

‘‘All of that is going to help us with that game play and being able to play the style of game we want to play — we want to be physical, fast and just keep going.

‘‘So I don’t think it gets any easier in terms of that.’’

Bloxham said there had been positives to take from the Super Club tournament and it had been good to get everyone on court.

However, it also gave the team a clear picture of what it needed to work on.

Fine-tuning its structures would become a priority, making sure it was well set up and everyone knew what their jobs were.

The team has another month until its next pre-season match.

It will play the Mainland Tactix on February 11-12 in Alexandra and Queenstown respectively.

The annual pre-season tournament in Otaki will follow at the end of the month.

While there was still a way to go, Bloxham was happy with where the side.

‘‘There’s always room for improvement, but I think we’ll get there. I think it just gives us a bit clearer direction of where we want to go.

‘‘Especially with that netball specific stuff.

‘‘I think the fitness side of things always seems to take care of itself, they always work really hard.

‘‘But our netball specific stuff we just need to make sure we tick off the things we want to before we get into that first game.

‘‘In saying that, we also know those first few games are a settling period and to make sure we’re able to adapt quickly and we can do what we need to.’’

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