Steel coach looks forward to ‘fresh start’

Southern Steel coach Reinga Bloxham and her team celebrate winning the Georgie Salter Memorial Trophy with members of Georgie's family last year. Photo: Dianne Manson/Michael Bradley Photography

STEEL coach Reinga Bloxham has put last year behind her.

The coach was entering 2021 with a renewed forward focus as the team prepared to assemble this month.

It was a tough season last year, with injuries and extra travel contributing to a fifth-placed finish.

That followed four quality years, which included back-to-back titles in 2017 and 2018.

However, that was not fuelling Bloxham.

The team had a largely new look to it.

Five of its 10 players were new and with that came a new start.

“What I’ve been focusing my energy on is thinking about this year and creating new opportunities and moving forward with a new-look team,” she said.

“It feels like a bit of a fresh start with the expectations [not] the same, because it was really tough last year.

“Just to get us on the court, and the girls did well to do that.

“But this year it feels like a bit of a clean slate, a team that is a little bit of unknown as to what we’re going to bring.”

The players had a break during Christmas but had been keeping up with their own fitness training.

Several players would head into camp with the national teams next week.

Bloxham had not had much of a chance to see the newcomers, although she had been in communication with them.

Both Ali Wilshier and Sarahpheinna Woulf were playing in a Queensland state league until November.

Wilshier had come home to New Zealand before Christmas, and Woulf was in managed isolation.

Meanwhile, Tiana Metuarau and Renee Savai’inaea had also been active as part of the New Zealand under-21 team.

Import shooter George Fisher, whom Bloxham was hopeful of getting into the country, had been training with the England team.

Bloxham was excited to get the players together, and while the names and faces were new, the expectations stayed the same.

“Always my expectation is that we will be there in that final and that we will put out decent performances week in and week out,” she said.

“It just gives us an opportunity to create a new style or a new way of doing things for the Steel with these new players we’ve got coming in.”Best Nike SneakersAir Jordan Release Dates 2021 , air jordan v retro white