Shooters Ellen Halpenny and Kiana Pelasio have been confirmed as permanent replacement players for the remainder of the ANZ Premiership season with the Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel.
Pelasio previously a Steel training partner and Southern Blast Beko Netball League player, has played several games already this season as a temporary replacement, while former Silver Fern Halpenny joined the side in Round 6.
The replacements come following season-ending injuries to Georgia Heffernan and Jennifer O’Connell who both ruptured their ACL earlier this season.
Steel head coach Reinga Bloxham said it was pleasing to have Halpenny and Pelasio as part of the team for the rest of the season.
“We are really excited to be able to bring Ellen into the team with us. She’s an experienced player at this level, has been in some great teams, and I think she will add that experience that we have been looking for,” Bloxham said.
“Ellen is really nuggety as a shooter and has got a smart shooting brain on her so we are really excited to bring her in to be a part of our Steel team.”
“Kiana has been one of our training partners from last November and a member of the Southern Blast Beko team, she’s a great home grown talent out of Dunedin.”
“She’s a really crafty player with a good netball mind and last week she showed a little bit of what she can do. Kiana’s got great vision; she can read the game a couple of steps ahead and I think once she gets a bit more confident, she will be able to show us exactly what she can bring.”
Halpenny, who played seven Tests for the Silver Ferns, said while the return to elite netball wasn’t planned, it was exciting to be back on court.
“It’s really exciting, I’ve been watching it and I think the girls are incredibly fit and the games fast and it’s just so exciting to be here.”
“I never thought I would put the Steel colors on so it’s actually quite a privilege to be able to do that. I am still a full-time police officer which I’m loving, so I’m really privileged that the police have given me the flexibility to be able to play.”
The Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel are back in action at 5pm this Saturday when they go up against the Northern Stars at Auckland Netball Centre.