Consistency is a key theme in the Dunedin flat of twin Heffernan sisters Kate and Georgia as they take aim at the rebooted ANZ Premiership.
The duo is part of a new-look Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel team and with a double-header looming at the Auckland Netball Centre this weekend – taking on the Northern Mystics on Saturday and the Robinhood Northern Stars on Sunday.
Both Kate and Georgia know they need to produce four strong quarters to ensure they board their chartered flight home with some competition points.
A poor third quarter against The Good Oil Tactix in Round 2 proved costly and wing defence Kate said consistency was crucial in the ANZ Premiership.
“We had really good moments and we obviously had moments where we went away from our game plan and didn’t play so well,” she said.
“We need to be clear on what we want to do and be really consistent.”
Georgia felt the team had emerged well from the lockdown, fitter and stronger, but was let down by simple errrors when returning to the competitive court.
“I feel like we’ve come a long way since before lockdown – we’re coming back stronger which is good,” she said.
“But I think it was a lot of just basic mistakes (against the Tactix). We’ve all looked at our personal game and our team game and we need to build from it.”
It is the first time in two years that the Heffernan twins are suiting up in the same team with Georgia, who plays in the shooting circle, taking the step up from the Beko Netball League after earning a fulltime contract this season.
“It’s always really cool when we get to play together,” she said.
“Obviously we grew up playing together but we’ve had a couple of years when we were in different teams so it’s pretty awesome to run out on the court the same time as her.”
Kate agreed and appreciated having her sister by her side for what turned into an incredibly long pre-season due to the COVID-19 lockdown.
But living together, training and playing together can take its toll on the siblings who admit to the odd sisterly squabble.
“We don’t really get sick of each other and we’re lucky we have a lot of people in Dunedin who we can catch up with if we need to get away from each other,” Kate said with a laugh.
It is not just their looks that they have in common with the two studying at Otago University and Otago Polytechnic (Psychology for Kate and Vet Nursing for Georgia) and both now dedicating their time to netball with dreams of going as far as they can.
And with strong sporting genes running through their blood – mum, Annette Heffernan, and aunt, Maxine Blomquist, were both Silver Ferns while dad, Noel Heffernan, played rugby for Canterbury Country and brother, Matt, is also a talented rugby player having been selected for the New Zealand School Barbarians and Southland B team – realising those dreams is not out of reach.
“Being a Silver Fern is always what I’ve wanted to be since I was little and (mum) always really encourages us,” Georgia said.
“I think she tries to stand back and doesn’t want to annoy us by giving us too much feedback,” Kate adds.
“I love it actually when she helps us out. Obviously being a Silver Fern would be amazing but we’ll just take it step by step.”
The sisters grew up in Tapanui and since then have shared their sporting time between cricket and netball, both representing the Otago Sparks and Kate going on to make her White Ferns cricket debut in 2018.
But the juggle of studying and playing two sports at an elite level became too much, and a decision was made by both to give their full attention to netball this season.
“I felt like I needed to give that consistent time to netball and not bounce between the two,” Kate said.
“It was a really tough decision but I knew at the time that I was getting so many good opportunities with netball.”
“We’re both passionate about netball,” Georgia added.
“We do miss (cricket) but in the end it was an easy decision for me.”
The Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel face an ANZ Premiership double-header this weekend;
Saturday, 27 June
- Steel v Mystics at 5pm, live on Sky Sport 3
Sunday, 28 June
- Steel v Stars at 5pm, live on Sky Sport 3