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Southby relishes fresh netball perspective

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 29/06/2017 Cathy Walshe

Netball's new national premiership has given Silver Ferns coach Janine Southby a fresh perspective as she prepares to name her squad for this year's jam-packed international calendar.

Southern Steel proved runaway winners in the inaugural edition of the six-team premiership, which replaced the trans-Tasman league after nine seasons.

They outplayed Central Pulse 69-53 in Invercargill on Wednesday night, completing a 16-match unbeaten season in imperious fashion.

On Friday, Southby will name up to 28 players to trial in Auckland on July 31-August 4.

Three days later she will select her squad for the September Quad Series against England, South Africa and Australia and the Taini Jamison Trophy, against England.

The Silver Ferns team to meet Australia in the four-Test Constellation Cup series will be named after the earlier series.

Southby believes New Zealand has lost little and gained plenty with the demise of the trans-Tasman league, particularly with the introduction of a wider range of younger netballers to elite netball.

"I think we've seen a number of players over the whole season up against different opponents," she told NZ Newswire.

"What we've seen is they've been challenged - when you play a team three times, you have to keep changing your game because if you don't, you get found out.

"I think the good thing from my point of view is that the teams have kept changing their games, they've kept growing, and that's where we're getting success from."

Few teams could match the consistency the Steel displayed, even when they lost four front-line players late in the season after their team was involved in a collision at a Christchurch intersection.

Skipper Wendy Frew and goal attack Te Paea Selby-Rickit only returned for Wednesday's final, and Southby says the depth on the Steel bench played a key role in their success.

"I think all the teams have put their hands up at different times over the season," she said.

"But I think the Steel have been really consistent this year - they benefited from settled combinations that have come back.

"Some of them are in their fourth or fifth year together, and they understand what it takes."

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