The return of the powerhouse Selby-Rickit siblings along with two rookies are the latest player recruitments for the Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel.
The ANZ Premiership champions have retained the shooting prowess of Silver Fern Te Paea Selby-Rickit whilst older sister Te Huinga will again spearhead the defensive ranks.
Commanding performances during the Steel’s Super Club title victory last month has earned shooter Olivia Bates and midcourter Dani Gray contracts in the elite ranks of the ANZ Premiership.
Steel coach Reinga Bloxham said she was happy with the team emerging to take on the challenge of defending the dual titles.
“There’s been a lot of player movement throughout the country so it will be interesting when the squads are announcement to see how it all pans out,” she said.
Enlisting for an eighth season with the southern team was an easy decision for Te Paea.
“I love being with this team and being with the same franchise my whole netball career is something I’m really proud of,” she said.
“Obviously, I really enjoyed this season and getting the ANZ Premiership and the Super Club titles was awesome. We’ve kept our core group of players so I’m looking forward to building on that next year.”
Boasting nearly 20 years’ franchise experience between them, Bloxham believed retaining the Selby-Rickit duo was pivotal to the Steel’s campaign.
“They are both a really crucial part of our team and to have that leadership at each end of the court is going to be really important going into next season,” she said.
“They aren’t ‘in-your-face’ leaders but they both inspire on and off the court. They look very relaxed in their approach but it’s all business when it comes to game time.
“The great thing about Te Paea is how consistent she is and the growth she has shown in that attack end leading others around her. I think Te Huinga is very underestimated but she’s such an important cog in our wheel.”
Bloxham was excited to see what Bates and Gray would achieve.
“Those two proved to us that they deserved a chance. Every time they came into our environment they took the opportunity and really immersed themselves in everything we did. There’s a huge amount of talent and netball nous there,” she said.
The quartet joins the midcourt trio of captain Wendy Frew and Silver Ferns Shannon Francois and Gina Crampton as confirmed for the 2018 season.