Saviour by name, saviour by nature. At least the Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel hopes so.
After two seasons with the newly crowned ANZ Premiership champion Mystics, impressive shooter Saviour Tui will ply her trade in the deep south for the 2022 ANZ Premiership after inking a contract with the southern franchise.
Tui, 19, will replace Tiana Metuarau who, after a stellar season with the Steel which culminated in Silver Ferns selection, is returning home to Wellington to rejoin the Te Wānanga o Ruakawa Pulse.
“I’m so excited. I’m looking forward to a new change because I love a different challenge. It will be great to connect with the girls and see what we can achieve together,” Tui said.
“For me it’s just to grow more, both in my game and in myself as a person. It’s another opportunity opening up, so I was happy to take it.”
There will be some familiar faces in the Steel ranks.
“I’m actually from Wellington and went to school with Renee (Savai’inaea) so it will be great to reconnect with her,” she said
“And I was so happy when I heard Kate (Burley) was coming to Steel as well. She is honestly like family to me and it will be cool to journey along with Katie.
“My brother is at university in Dunedin so there will be a bit of my family close by.”
In the shooting stakes, the 1.89m Tui will join England Roses sensation George Fisher – a prospect which held strong appeal.
“I’m a little bit nervous but excited to link up with her and learn from her international experience.”
While traditionally a goal shoot, Tui has been developing her prowess at goal attack.
“I actually enjoy both positions – I don’t know which one is my favourite yet. Obviously, goal attack is more freedom which can be fun.”
With the Mystics clinching their first title since the franchise’s inception, Tui has been reflecting on a stellar season before switching netball loyalties.
“We definitely felt more connected together and we always had honest conversations with each other. I just felt like we had so much love within our team. It’s been exciting but pretty emotional for all of us knowing it’s our last week together as a unit.”
Steel head coach Reinga Bloxham was confident Tui would excel in the Steel environment.
“Saviour has a beautiful shot and is very accurate with a long range. She brings great height and athleticism,” she said.
“Even though she has had limited court time at ANZ Premiership level and hasn’t been truly tested, I’m excited about what she will bring and the potential she has to really stamp her mark on the game.
“I feel like Saviour will fit the culture of our team and she’s willing to work hard.”