Netball: Southern Steel suffer major blow with veteran mid-courter out for season

The Southern Steel have been dealt a major blow with former Silver Fern midcourter Shannon Saunders ruled out of the remainder of the ANZ Premiership through injury.

Saunders suffered the injury pre-season and had been managing it during the competition, but recent tests have revealed further damage to her cartilage.

“It has been a bit of a weird one. My knee just puffed up after training one day and we’ve been managing it since,” Saunders said.

“I had more scans done recently and now I have a tear in my cartilage which, unfortunately, is going to take some time to heal,” she explained.

“It’s definitely taken a while for the news to sink in, especially because it’s been quite a strange injury in terms of its presentation and I wasn’t expecting my latest scan results to give the diagnosis that it has. On the flip side, it’s nice to now have some answers and more of a direction in terms of rehab and steps forward.”

The most capped player in the competition, Saunders’ return after the birth of her first child last year was highly anticipated by the Steel.

“I’m extremely gutted. I was having so much fun being back out there on court. It has been awesome seeing the improvement from the team each week and I’m devastated I won’t be able to help contribute to that out on court now,” she said.

“I have absolutely loved my time back with Steel. Even just being in the team environment has been awesome. I love the pressure and the competitiveness that comes with playing and the challenge to be better, learn and adapt each week.

“The team has been improving each week and I’m excited to see them continue to grow and watch all the different combinations develop.”

Saunders won’t be lost to the Steel as she will continue her mentoring work with the team.

The Southern Steel sit at the bottom of the premiership ladder with just one win in five games.

That sole victory, a 63-61 win over the Northern Stars in extra time broke a nearly two year streak without a win.


According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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