31 Jul 2017

Midcourt trio recommit to Steel

1:52 pm on 31 July 2017

The Southern Steel has retained its powerful midcourt trio for next year's ANZ Premiership title defence.

Wendy Frew (right) will captain the Southern Sting in 2015 while Shannon Francois will be vice captain.

Shannon Francois (left) and captain Wendy Frew. Photo: Dianne Manson

Forming a vital nucleus, captain Wendy Frew and Silver Ferns Shannon Francois and Gina Crampton are the first roster signings announced by the southern franchise, which won the inaugural ANZ Premiership.

Frew, who had surgery to repair a ruptured Achilles tendon a fortnight ago, said she was stoked the combination they had worked hard to establish would remain intact.

"Playing with Gina and Shannon is just an unreal experience. I love everything about their game and the way they lead on the court but also everything they do for this team off the court," she said.

"I think we've got a great combination going there and it's exciting to have the chance to keep building on that."

Crampton echoed her comments.

"It's cool that the three of us are back and I can't think of anyone else I'd like to be playing alongside," she said.

"It's going to be important to have these connections going forward next year because we know all the other teams will be gunning for us."

The absence of towering Jamaican shooter Jhaniele Fowler-Reid would force a revamp of the Steel's attack but Crampton was unfazed.

"It's going to be great to see how we go having someone so different under the post. It will definitely change our game plan a bit and produce a different brand of netball but that will hopefully keep the other teams guessing and add a few new tricks to our toolbox," she said.

Frew was eager for the Steel to go back-to-back.

While her 16th season in the elite ranks will take a mammoth recovery effort, Frew is a player renowned for her tenaciousness and unrivalled work ethic.

Despite the achilles injury, which put a devastating halt to her tilt at national selection, Frew said she was remaining positive.

"My focus is on getting the rehab right and I will be doing everything possible to get back out there in the best shape I can be. I've just got to tick all the boxes and not get ahead of myself."