Work ahead as Steel returns to training

Reinga Bloxham. Photo: Michael Bradley Photography
Reinga Bloxham
All going well, the Steel will return to training on Monday and begin preparations for what is "a massive challenge".

There are a couple of safety inductions to sit through first, WorkSafe plans to complete and contract-tracing protocols to establish.

It is a lot of paperwork, planning and co-ordinating, so management will have to hustle to get everything done so the team can resume training as early as possible, because it will need the extra time to prepare.

Netball New Zealand earlier this week confirmed the ANZ Premiership, which was suspended after one round, would resume on June 19.

It has not released a draw yet but all the games will be played in one location in Auckland.

Steel coach Reinga Bloxham acknowledged the travelling would be tiring.

"It is a massive challenge. There is no denying that. It is going to be tough," she said.

"It is going to be a 10-week competition and we are going to be travelling every weekend. But we are working really closely with Netball New Zealand at the moment to make sure that travel is as easy as it can be for us.

"The best thing we can do is just accept it for what it is and make sure we focus our energy on preparing ourselves to cope with those demands."

Bloxham said there were mixed emotions about returning to work.

"I’ve never seen a group of 10 athletes so excited about training.

"But I think there is a lot of anxiety still around about getting back out in to the public ... but that is why we are putting in place plans to make sure we alleviate as much risk as we can."

The games will be played in a closed stadium. The Steel has had a taste of what that is like. It played the Magic in Dunedin at an empty Edgar Centre in March.

"I know that is something we will miss. We have some of the best fans in the country.

"They are parochial, they get behind us no matter what and a lot of the time they’ve got us across the line and helped us win.

"We just have to remember that we’ve still got them behind us and we can take that feeling into each and every game.

"We’ve had one game without a crowd so we know what the eerie feeling feels like."


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