JOINING a new team is no easy feat, but joining a new team amidst a pandemic is even harder and something that new Tactix recruit Te Paea Selby-Rickit did not expect to encounter in her first season with the side. But despite the rocky start to the ANZ Premiership season, the 28-year-old is relishing the new opportunity.
“Yeah, I’m really loving it actually. Obviously, I was in Dunedin for quite a long time, I was with the Steel for a long time,” she said. “So it’s something different. Like playing with new people and it’s been a good challenge for me and learning from a new coach and stuff like that, but so far, I’m really loving it.”
The former Southern Steel goaler opted for a change of scenery in 2020 after spending her entire netball career with the Steel and wanting to broaden her horizons.
“I’d been ready for a change for a while. I’ve lived in Dunedin for a while, and I was sort of, yeah, a lot of my friends from uni had all sort of moved away. And I think I just needed a new challenge and something different,” she said.
With Selby-Rickit open to new possibilities she was lured by good friend, Tactix captain and Silver Ferns defender Jane Watson to join the Tactix this season.
“I’m quite close with Jane Watson from the Tactix. When we were away with the Ferns, she was often telling me about how much she enjoyed the Tactix and how they had quite a good environment up here in Christchurch. So yeah, she sort of definitely was someone that helped me,” she said.
Joined by her two older sisters in Christchurch throughout isolation, the goal attack had plenty of time to not only reset and get her body in order but also catch up on the things she had been missing.
“So we just pretty much just did a bit of training and a lot of cooking and baking. I love to bake which was quite good, caught up on a lot of sleep there were a lot of sleep ins to be honest,” Selby-Rickit said.
“I know it’s a bit of a tough time for everyone but personally I enjoyed it we haven’t really had a chance to have a good break in a long time so it was a good time for me to rest up some little niggles, I had like a bit of a sore Achilles just before going to lock down so I’ve been able to get that right and so yeah, I’m good to go now,” she said.
While there is no denying that her specialty on court is her cool, calm and collected demeanour going to post, when asked about her speciality in the kitchen, Selby-Rickit struggled to just settle on one.
“Obviously, a couple of banana breads like everyone, you know, I mix it up really. I didn’t really cook the same thing twice. I just tried a lot of new things. It was a good chance for me to learn how to how to cook a few things,” she said.
Training in isolation has looked a little bit different for Selby-Rickit, focusing on running and getting her fitness up to a high standard before the season resumes, while also making the most of her home gym.
“Just hit the streets and have been running. I luckily had a netball court, outdoor netball court just down the road from my house which also had a track around it. So I was able to do a bit of my training there,” she said.
Allowed to restart training as a whole team Selby-Rickit has welcomed back the contact and camaraderie associated with netball and is focusing on re-establishing those strong connections ahead of Round 2.
“We’re just trying to revisit the things, we built some really good connections right before the lockdown and before game one. And so we’re just trying to revisit that and slowly work our way back to, you know, back to where we were,” she said. “We’re obviously first going up against the Steel. So that’s going to be really exciting one for us. But yeah, we’re trying to refamiliarise ourselves with all our plays, and all our structures and things like that.
When playing with the Steel, Selby-Rickit used to suit up alongside her sister, Te Huinga Selby-Rickit but now is faced with the prospect of playing against her. The two sides are set to go head to head in the first round back of netball on June 20, a match-up the talented goaler is looking forward to.
“Yeah, it’s going to be a bit weird, but obviously, being in the same team with her for so many years, I’ve played against her a lot in training games and training matches and things like that. So I’d like to think that I know what her strengths are, but she probably knows what mine are as well. So it’s going to be really interesting. It’s probably going to be more nerve wracking for my parents, having to watch us against each other. But I’m really excited. It’s going to be a good first game,” she said.
With no crowds allowed at games due to the COVID-19 restrictions, Selby-Rickit admits that it might take a while to get used to but is excited about getting back on court and playing netball.
“I think it maybe potentially less pressure less, you know, noise and things like that don’t have to worry about noise and we should be able to hear each other communicating on court,” she said. “Because definitely for me in the past playing for the Steel, the crowd definitely helped us … we sometimes called them our eighth player so that’s going to be really interesting not having that aspect.
“We do practice a lot during training you know, trying to keep communication up through loud noises but without that I don’t know, I think hopefully it’s going to make it a little bit better. We love having our fans there but not having to worry about the noise side of things.”