As preparations get underway at the Auckland War Memorial Museum for the glamour of the 2016 Netball Awards tonight, Southern Steel defender Te Huinga Reo Selby-Rickit reflects on a stellar season with her Southland/Otago franchise.
While the 27-year-old from Ngāti Raukawa won’t attend this year’s event she wishes her younger sister Te Paea Selby-Rickit a fantastic night after her successful campaign with the Silver Ferns.
“She’s had an awesome year but every time I watch the games, I get so nervous," says Selby-Rickit, "Especially that match over the weekend when the Fast 5 Ferns were in the grand final against Australia in Melbourne and beating them by 25 points.”
“The only thing I found embarrassing for the Australians was that they couldn’t find the net and it was telling how we have the luxury of having long-bomb shooters like my sister and Maria Tutaia in the team.”
It was also Te Huinga’s first year playing for the same team as her sister at ANZ Championship level and she hopes to be better in the newly announced ANZ Premiership competition.
“Te Paea was a star in our Steel team when she and Jhanielle Fowler-Reid controlled that shooting circle,” says Selby-Rickit.
“Noeline Taurua made a huge difference for us this year and she was the type of coach that liked keeping things simple on and off the court. On average our error rate was only 11 [per game] which was a huge difference in our game and my sister completely transformed.”
After all their achievements this year, Noeline decided to cross over to Australia to coach the Sunshine Coast Lightning in their new domestic competition. Her assistant coach Reinga Bloxham will now take over with the hope of going a step further in the inaugural year of the new New Zealand competition.
“She was an awesome assistant coach to Noeline, they were basically best friends and their knowledge of the game was helpful.”
“We will definitely bring our A game like this year again next season.”