Steel­cats ready for next step

Townsville Bulletin - - Sport - by Antony Ste­wart antony. ste­wart@ townsville­bul­letin. com. au

STEEL­CATS coach Deb­o­rah Ruka is con­fi­dent Mag­netic North have taken ‘‘ the next step’’ to­wards Holden Cruze Cup suc­cess.

While vic­tory eluded them at NPA Sta­dium, Mag­netic North showed nerves of steel to open their ac­count for 2011 with a 51-51 tie against Bris­bane South.

Af­ter the Steel­cats blew a five-goal lead seven min­utes into the fi­nal term to trail by one with 40 sec­onds left, skip­per Kristy O’Neill pro­duced a steal in the half-court to de­liver a game-ty­ing op­por­tu­nity to star shooter Joanne Mor­gan.

With a stag­ger­ing 85 per cent suc­cess rate on the night, the for­mer Aus­tralia rep­re­sen­ta­tive was never go­ing to miss the last-gasp shot.

‘‘ The girls were ex­cited, be­cause last sea­son they had a few tight games but al­ways lost. This is the next step,’’ Ruka said.

‘‘ It’s our sec­ond game so the ex­pec­ta­tion is that we can only grow from here.’’

Lit­tle sep­a­rated the teams at each of the quar­ter breaks, with each side win­ning two terms each. How­ever, Ruka con­ceded there was a feel­ing the Steel­cats had thrown away a win that had been theirs for the tak­ing af­ter they jumped to a good lead in the last term.

Young wing at­tack Dom­ica West­combe had a blind­ing start to her Steel­cats ca­reer af­ter be­ing called up from the tier two team.

‘‘ She played be­yond her ex­pe­ri­ence, she was very im­pres­sive,’’ Ruka said.

There was a neg­a­tive end to the night, how­ever, with key de­fender Sian Roberts in­jur­ing her knee.

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