Two of the south’s brightest netball talents will reap the benefits of being immersed in the Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel environment next season.
Steel head coach Reinga Bloxham has named tenacious defender Della-May McDermott, of Winton, and Dunedin-based shooter Kiana Pelasio as official training partners to join the pre-season phase of the 2020 ANZ Premiership.
Given the team’s last three training partners – Taneisha Fifita, Kate and Georgia Heffernan – have all since progressed to be fully-contracted members of the Steel squad, the pair will no doubt be eager to make the most of the opportunity to impress Bloxham.
“The biggest thing for me is building these training partners to be ready to take on the pressure and physicality of the ANZ Premiership. It’s great to have another two players from our Zone be given the opportunity to step up and learn what a high performance environment is like,” Bloxham said.
“We’re also very proud they are both home-grown talents emerging from our pathways.”
She was confident the duo had what it takes to shine in the sport’s top echelon.
“Della-May has had an outstanding year and made some big gains. She was a standout player at the U19 nationals and caught the eye of a few netball people. She hunts the ball nicely and backs herself to turn the ball over,” Bloxham said.
“She has a good work ethic and is prepared to work hard and make the most of this opportunity. She’s young, exciting and her potential is untapped at this stage.”
She described Pelasio as “a very smart player”.
“She shows a good understanding of the game, has great timing and can create space for others around her. She has a great attitude and will put in the hard yards to get the most out of this experience.”
The Steel squad reconvenes in November to prepare for the 2020 campaign, with both McDermott and Pelasio set to hit the ground running from the outset.
“They’ll be totally immersed in the whole programme to learn the ropes and see what it’s all about – they’ll definitely get to sweat, hurt, play, laugh and cry with the rest of the team.
“Yes, it’s tough and they have to work exceptionally hard but the rewards do come. They need to be prepared for anything and that includes having to bib up for the team and take the court during the season if needed.”