Saunders awarded Steel captaincy
Expect to hear a lot more from tenacious Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel midcourter Shannon Saunders this season.
Set to embark on her 10th season with the southern franchise, Saunders has been bestowed the captaincy with experienced defender Te Huinga Reo Selby-Rickit appointed as her deputy.
“I’m still getting my head around it to be honest but I’m very excited and honoured to lead this team,” she said.
“It will definitely be a challenge for me and push me outside my comfort zone at times into being more vocal.
“I tend to lead by actions rather than telling people what to do so I am going to have to find my voice more.”
With five new players in the Steel ranks for its 2021 ANZ Premiership campaign, Saunders felt there was a great vibe developing.
“It’s hard to believe this will be my 10th season. I’m still learning so much and enjoying my netball – it still feels new and fresh,” she said.
“With all the new faces, it’s like being part of a new team without having to change franchises.”
The element of surprise could prove Steel’s secret weapon as its 2021 season gets underway.
“It’s a cool position to be in because we don’t have any external expectations or pressures on us – people don’t know what to expect and the other teams have no idea what we’re going to bring. We really are a mystery to them,” Saunders said.
“We’re an extremely young team and it’s been a huge learning curve so far. Everyone has just embraced it and it’s exciting to see this team continue to evolve every time we get together.”
Head coach Reinga Bloxham was confident Saunders would prove an exceptional leader.
“Shannon has been in the Steel environment for so long and has a wealth of experience to offer. She’s always been a leader – this is really just putting an official title to it,” she said.
“I expect Shannon to simply carry on doing the things she’s always done. One of the things I reinforced was making sure she leads her own way. She doesn’t need to step into anyone else’s shoes because she will bring her own leadership style to the role.”