Sister contest a tall order

Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel goal defence Te Huinga Selby-Rickett marks her sister, Good Oil Tactix's goal attack Te Paea Selby-Rickett, during the ANZ premiership game in Invercargill on Monday night. Photo: Dianne Manson/Michael Bradley Photography

PLAYING against your sister in any sport can be tough.

Defending your sister in the ANZ premiership is even tougher.

That’s what Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel’s goal defence Te Huinga Selby-Rickett had to do against Good Oil Tactix’s goal attack Te Paea Selby-Rickett on Monday night.

For Te Huinga, the sibling contest is one she tries not to think about on court.

“It was fine.

“I don’t really get too caught up in that part of it – every goal attack I come up against is really tough in a different way and it was no different tonight.”

For Te Huinga, it is her sister’s height which provides the biggest challenge.

“She is probably one of the tallest, or the tallest, goal attacks and so it’s actually really hard to get the ball off her pass. So you have try and stop her from getting the ball, which is tough as well because she is that release for them and she spends a lot of time outside especially when they have a tall shooter at the back.”

The plan was to try to keep Te Paea out of that goal circle and load the shooting responsibility on to Ellie Bird, hoping her confidence would shake.

However, the 95.8% shooting percentage of Bird, netting 46 of her 48 shots, showed she was up for the challenge.

On Monday, it was obvious Steel just could not counteract the Tactix attacking end – only seven of its 67 attempts while Steel converted 50 of its 59 shots at goal.

Steel coach Reinga Bloxham said she thought her team did, at times, play well in defence.

“We just probably took a while to adjust to the whole game, it was a funny sort of a game.

“I think Taneisha (Fifita) after last week being sent off, that perhaps maybe was in the back of her head of trying not to do that, trying to change things up a little bit.”

The connection in the Tactix shooting end between Te Paea and Bird was difficult to beat, Bloxham said.

“The ball she (Te Paea) was putting in was fantastic and it was on point. We just couldn’t quite disrupt that.”

A slow transition from Steel defenders up higher in the court, meant the long ball was easily sent down to the Tactix shooters, she said.

Steel will play its next game against Mystics in Auckland on Sunday. The next home fixtures for the southerners are in Dunedin on June 6 and 19, with the next game at the ILT Stadium Southland in Invercargill on June 28.