"We were like big sisters"
Southern Steel captain Wendy Frew is about to bow out of professional netball after a 16-year career which has spanned both the Sting dynasty and Steel era.
At some point in the next couple of weeks she will complete, for the final time, a routine which has become both a ritual and an insight into what drives her.
She will wrap some strapping tape around her right wrist and write on it the names of those she cares most about. That list has grown over the years. What started with the 10-strong Telfer clan and husband Trent, now includes children Archie and Indie and the expanding Telfer whanau.
Photo: Wendy Frew writes the names of her loved ones on her wrist before each game. The Telfer clan is expanding rapidly, with those 18 nieces and nephews now 20. Pic: Supplied
Southlanders have grown up watching Frew play, but we went behind the scenes to find out a bit more about what makes her tick.
We started with Steel coach Reinga Bloxham, who can offer a unique insight having both played with, and now coached, Frew over the years.
Bloxham recalls a 16-year-old Wendy Telfer, as she was at the time, coming into the Sting team for the first time...
Academy Southland manager Jason McKenzie works closely with both the Southern Steel and Southland Stags and has watched Frew grow into a leader.
Gina Crampton has shared the Steel midcourt with Frew for the past few seasons and been the vice-captain for the team in 2018. You might not realise just what a superstitious player Frew is, according to Crampton.
Kate Buchanan has been interviewing and writing stories about Wendy Frew since she was a teenaged sporting wonder, first as a reporter for the Southland Times and now as marketing and communications manager for the Steel.
Steel shooter Te Paea Selby-Rickit has massive respect for her captain and team mate, but not so much that Frew isn't above being the butt of a few team jokes.
Bloxham, who also came through the Southland netball ranks to take a place in that glamorous and dominant Sting team, will miss not having Frew around for many reasons next season. She gets the last word.