Heffernan gets injury call up with Steel
Midcourter Kate Heffernan has been promoted into the Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel team for the remainder of the 2018 ANZ Premiership season.
Heffernan, 18, replaces Dani Gray who suffered a serious knee injury during Steel’s round four clash with the Pulse in late May. An MRI scan revealed Gray ruptured her ACL while damage to the MCL, meniscus and cartilage was also discovered.
The call-up as a contracted player came as a surprise to Heffernan.
“I knew there was a possibility when Dani unfortunately got injured but I was still surprised,” she said.
“I’m wanting to make the most of every chance I get now to play.”
While traditionally an attacking midcourter, Heffernan was handed the wing defence bib in the second half of Steel’s last-gasp win over the Tactix and earned five deflections to her credit.
“I knew when I got the chance I would have to play well so it sort of felt like a bit of a trial,” she said.
It’s been a monumental sporting year for Heffernan so far after she was also selected for the White Ferns series against the West Indies.
“It’s been quite a crazy year but pretty cool to be able to do both. At times I can’t really believe it.”
Coach Reinga Bloxham was confident Heffernan would continue to excel in the Steel environment.
“It’s really exciting for Kate to make that step into the ANZ Premiership league,” she said.
“I think she’s ready to step up to this next grade. You look at all the teams which have blooded young players – they are ruthless, they are fearless and they are hungry to be out there on court and I think that’s the best thing about the competition is that they are pushing for those starting bibs.”
Initially named as an official training partner to the Steel, Heffernan has been working alongside the team since pre-season duties began in January.
"For us it’s about having that consistency and allowing her to transfer what she’s done in pre-season right through until now.”
The vacancy was tightly contested between Heffernan and her Netball South team-mate Kendall McMinn, who has also featured as a replacement player this season.
“It was a tough decision when they’re both vying for the same spot. The difference ultimately came down to Kate having had the pre-season with us and working alongside the other players right through along with her ability to cover all three midcourt positions,” Bloxham said.
The Steel team travels to Auckland today to prepare for Wednesday night’s game against the Mystics. The focus then switches to Sunday’s rematch with the Tactix in Dunedin.