Steel celebrate heritage by honouring Wendy Frew
For 17 seasons in the elite ranks tenacious midcourter Wendy Frew epitomised the values of a champion netballer.
Her unrivalled journey spanned both the Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel and its predecessor the Southern Sting, earning her six premier championship titles.
Now the remarkable contribution Frew made has been honoured with a medal bearing her name – today’s announcement an apt way for the Steel franchise to commemorate the ANZ Premiership’s inaugural Heritage Round.
The Wendy Frew Medal will be bestowed annually on the Steel player who demonstrates excellence, commitment and loyalty – all hallmarks of Frew’s netball prowess.
“It is incredibly humbling to be acknowledged and respected in this way,” Frew said.
“My love of the game has always been what drives me and I’m incredibly proud of what I achieved wearing both the Sting and the Steel dress. To have that captured to be awarded to future players is a massive honour.”
Frew hung up her bib after leading the Steel to a second consecutive ANZ Premiership title in 2018.
“I do miss playing, the intensity of the competition and the comradery which you get from being in a team. I will treasure my Sting and Steel netball days forever.”
Frew, nee Telfer, was still a high school student at Verdon College when she was recruited by coach Robyn Broughton into the Sting team in 2002 to play alongside legends the calibre of Bernice Mene and Donna Wilkins, nee Loffhagen.
“On reflection, it truly was the best start to what would eventually become a professional career as the sport evolved. Those senior players taught me so much on the court but more importantly how to be a professional off it as well,” Frew said.
“They were special times and every season was unique in its own way. Different players injected a new dynamic and I always enjoyed seeing them embrace the values of our team culture.”
Steel’s class of 2021 will be determined to pay tribute to the franchise’s legacy when they face the Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse in Porirua on Sunday.
An impressive performance in round two earned the southerners a 56-52 victory over the defending champions but Frew expected Pulse to up the ante on home turf.
“It will be a tough encounter and Steel needs to push for that confidence-boosting win away from home,” she said.
“I feel Steel is the stronger team and definitely has the edge when it comes to form, but both will be desperate for the win.
In particularly, Frew was eagerly anticipating the midcourt showdown between Steel captain Shannon Saunders and her Silver Ferns team-mate Maddy Gordon, along with the exploits of defensive pairing Te Huinga Reo Selby-Rickit and Taneisha Fifita.
“In the defensive circle, that’s a combination which continues to gain momentum and it’s exciting to see it evolve every week.”