Netball the big winner on the night


THE Southern Steel have a scrap on their hands in a tight 2018 ANZ Premiership netball competition, but last Friday night they were able to spend time reflecting on something special.

The Steel scooped the 2018 Southland Sports Awards when the Invercargill-based netball franchise won the Team of the Year gong, Reinga Bloxham was named Coach of the Year and captain Wendy Frew was announced the Senior Sportsperson of the Year.

The Steel also won the Otago team of the year recently, while Frew was the first netballer to be handed the Southland Sportsperson of the Year honour since Adine Wilson in 2005.

“It was very humbling, I didn’t see it coming,” Frew said.

“There is a lot of very talented sportspeople who have won it before so, as I said, it was very humbling to get the award.”

Frew was part of the Steel team which won 21 straight games last year on the way to winning both the ANZ Premiership and Super Club competitions.

She was included in the Silver Ferns trials and was on track for a return to international netball for the first time in close to a decade before an Achilles injury ended those hopes.

“It was crazy season, it was both an emotional year and a very special year. It was great to be able to look back on that [on Friday night], and it was great for netball that we were able to win those awards.”

The mindset had to quickly shift from the award wins back to the court for Frew and her Steel team-mates at the weekend.

On Sunday they beat the Northern Stars 63-60 in Christchurch before toppling the Mainland Tactix 53-52 at the same venue in a thriller the next night.

“Obviously we are not where we want to be, but the positive is we have won six from eight this season, so we have to be pleased with that.

“For us, we just need to be more consistent throughout the 60 minutes. We are nowhere near doing that at the moment.”

Steel have this weekend off before they take on the Northern Mystics in Auckland on Wednesday night.

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