What to expect in 2021
Put simply, Southern Steel had a tough 2020 season.
Several key players suffered injuries, leaving them to experiment with different and frequently changing line-ups.
The Steel missed the finals, and the side has received a bit of an overhaul going into 2021.
Two-time premiership coach Reinga Bloxham remains at the helm for her fifth season in charge, and she will be working to return the Steel to the lofty heights of 2017-18.
With a huge turnover from last season, the Steel are the great unknowns of the ANZ Premiership, so they will certainly be intriguing to watch this season.
The most promising new signing for the Steel is George Fisher, who has made the jump from England and the Saracens Mavericks to try a new challenge in New Zealand.
Fisher, who has 10 caps for the England Roses as well, is known for her skills under the post, scoring 89 goals in just two appearances for the Mavericks last season. With added opportunity, Fisher could be the coup of the season.
Also joining is two-time Central Pulse premiership player Tiana Metuarau, who has the potential to form a powerful duo with Fisher.
In addition, arriving from the Pulse is Renee Savai’inea, who will join the midcourt.
With her partner in crime Gina Crampton joining the Northern Stars, Shannon Saunders will have to up the ante as well.
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Biggest factor for success
The Southern Steel need a solid team, and a bit of luck. Injuries ruined any chance they had of contending in 2020 with key pillars sidelined with season-ending injuries.
Premiership teammates Metuarau and Savai’inea will link up again at the Steel, after strong success at the Central Pulse. This existing connection will be critical to the Steel’s performances.
With all the new other recruits at the Steel, forming a strong connection and partnerships with the existing players will also be key. Not one part of the team is without a new face, so how these new teammates gel will be critical if the Steel are to be in contention this season.
Last year: Fifth, 4-1-10
Off-season Player Movement
In: George Fisher; Tiana Metuarau; Renee Savai’inea; Ali Wilshier; Sarahpheinna Woulf
Out: Jennifer O’ Connell; Georgia Heffernan; Kalifa McColin; Gina Crampton; Abby Erwood; Kendell Corkery
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