The Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel has retained its highly-rated midcourt and added a new shooter into the mix to finalise its roster for the 2020 ANZ Premiership.
Silver Ferns Gina Crampton and Shannon Saunders will line up for their seventh season with the southern franchise, while Kate Heffernan and Kendall McMinn return for their second. Heffernan will be joined by identical twin sister Georgia, who has earned her first contract after impressing as a replacement player.
Trinidad and Tobago shooter Kalifa McCollin and Jennifer O’Connell compete the shooting ranks, while Te Huinga Reo Selby-Rickit, Abby Erwood and Taneisha Fifita will add the defensive prowess as the team chases a third premiership title.
Coach Reinga Bloxham was pleased to preserve the bulk of the squad.
“It’s always a bonus to have continuity and then add some new talent into the mix for variation and spice,” she said.
“I’m looking forward to the challenge of moulding our team together now.”
The inclusion of young guns Taneisha and Georgia for their debut season was testament to the pathway the franchise had developed for emerging talent.
“It’s awesome to see that structure working with both Taneisha and Georgia progressing from training partners onto full contracts,” Bloxham said.
“The pathway we’ve created is clear and hopefully inspires other local players to also pursue their goal of playing for the Steel.”
The 2020 ANZ Premiership was shaping up as unpredictable.
“There’s been a lot of change and movement throughout the franchises during this recruitment phase so it will be interesting to see what transpires. You can bet it’s going to be competitive and that’s great for the competition itself and our sport as a whole,” Bloxham said.