ASCOT Park Hotel Southern Steel coach Reinga Bloxham has asked supporters to be loud, be proud and to get behind the team from the first to the last whistle at the ANZ Premiership elimination home final against the Tactix on Sunday.
Speaking yesterday ahead of the game, Bloxham said the team was trying to keep things the same during this week’s trainings while still doing a bit of fine-tuning and making sure they were happy with their structures.
“We’ll obviously have a good look at the Tactix to see what they’ve been doing in their last few games and just also look back on what we did against them last time, what worked well, what didn’t and that sort of stuff.”
There were no injuries to worry about after players came through pretty unscathed after Saturday’s game against Te Wananga o Raukawa Pulse.
“You know there’s always niggles at this time of the season, it’s about managing those but, apart from the odd blister and sore bodies, I think we’re not too bad.”
The speed at which tickets sold earlier this week, just showed the enthusiasm of the Steel supporters, she said.
More than 1000 tickets were bought in the first 40 minutes tickets were up for sale.
“I think it’s really awesome. It just shows here people are jumping in behind us and supporting us, just like I knew they would.
“The public are really excited about this game, perhaps more-so than we are if that’s a possibility, but I think it’s going to be really important having their support going into this elimination final because, you know, finals netball is completely different, there’s a whole new level of pressure.”
The team had really enjoyed the atmosphere and the spectators this season, she said.
Talk around the team recently had brought up how one player thought the crowd was just like having your grandparents coming and watching you play sport.
“After the game they’ll come down and they’re like proud grandparents and they said it’s just so sweet and they love it and they have just embraced that which is cool.”
For Steel import George Fisher, the atmosphere was one she was not typically used to.
“At first I think she was quite overwhelmed and she was like ‘oh my gosh all these people have come here to watch us’ and now she just absolutely loves it and she is just embracing it all and she just loves engaging with the community and the fans afterwards.
“She definitely sees the benefits of it and is just lapping it up.”
ILT Stadium Southland manager Nigel Skelt said yesterday morning only 100 tickets were not taken up by Steel season ticket holders.
However, a decision was going to be made last night, after the Southland Expresswent to print, on whether a larger stand would be brought in to allow for a larger crowd.
“There could still be an opportunity for people to buy tickets,” he said.