Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel training partners, from left, Kiana Pelasio, Losa Fifita and Ivari Christie.
It’s an A+ on the report card for Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel’s trio of young training partners.
Midcourter Ivari Christie, defender Losa Fifita and shooter Kiana Pelasio have spent the past few months immersed in the Steel’s preseason campaign – something head coach Reinga Bloxham predicts could be crucial as the 2022 ANZ Premiership progresses.
“It can be really hard to retain depth when you lose a few players which we are likely to do during the season because of illness so knowing we have these three talents to call on is certainly reassuring as a coach,” she said.
“They will be ready to go. They understand our team culture, the performance culture, the structures so it will be seamless when they do come in. I think they will be fearless in the opportunities they take and they will grab it with both hands.”
Bloxham has been impressed with the work ethic demonstrated.
“They have been fantastic actually. All three of them have worked really hard during their time with us but they all came in in really good condition as well,” she said.
“Kiana has been with us before so she wasn’t unfamiliar with what it’s like but the other two have come straight out of school so it was a big step up for both of them to come into an environment where you’re working with professional athletes. They have both handled it extremely well and no doubt they have learned lots and at times maybe they’ve even been overwhelmed but they haven’t looked that way.
“They have certainly pushed everyone in trainings, in the gym, in their conditioning sessions – they are physically really strong people and that’s been refreshing to have them bring all of themselves. They haven’t backed down at all and have been very valuable in our preparation and will continue to be going forward.”
The Steel launches it 2022 quest for the premiership title against the Trident Homes Tactix in Christchurch on Sunday, 13 March before hosting the Northern Mystics at home at ILT Stadium Southland on 21 March.
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