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Adine Wilson answers Steel SOS

Published: 8:32AM Monday June 11, 2012 Source: Fairfax

  • Adine Wilson Silver Ferns (Source: Photosport)
    Adine Wilson - Source: Photosport

A persuasive phone call from Southern Steel skipper Jodi Brown has helped coax former Silver Ferns captain and Sting standout Adine Wilson back onto the netball court.

The Steel have been scouring around for a temporary midcourt replacement this week after young-gun Shannon Francois suffered an ankle injury in last week's loss to the Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic.

Their midcourt stocks have already been ravaged this season with first-choice wing attack Courtney Tairi ruled out for the remainder of the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee, and Wendy Frew pulling out of the squad in February due to pregnancy.

With Steel already fielding a youthful looking midcourt, Brown got in touch with former Silver Ferns' team-mate Wilson, who was happy to answer the SOS.

Wilson 33, who played 79 tests for the Silver Ferns, lives in Auckland and was the logical choice for tonight's game against the Northern Mystics in the City of Sails. She has only been named as a temporary replacement player for the Mystics clash and will make her comeback off the bench.

Wilson has been playing premier club netball in Auckland for last year's champions, College Rifles- who also feature former Silver Ferns Tania Dalton and Anna Stanley. Her last elite netball appearance was in 2009, when she played with Steel in the second season of the ANZ Championship.

She said it was difficult to say no to Brown when she came calling and was happy to assist her old side in their hour of need.

''Jodi gave me a call. There are a whole lot of injuries and they're running pretty bare on the bench,'' Wilson said

''Hopefully, I'll be able to sit on the bench and cheer and support them there. That would be the ultimate. If I take the court, there'll no doubt be a few nerves and a few cobwebs.''

Wilson has strong connections with the south, having played for the Otago Rebels in the former National Bank Cup from 1998 to 2000, then winning five titles as a member of the all-conquering Sting side.

She developed a fine partnership at domestic and international level with Steel veteran Donna Wilkins and said if she took to the court, if would be a pleasure to team up with her again.

''I've played with Donna for absolute donkey years and I've played with Jodi. If I was going to fill in for someone, Steel makes the most sense.

''I know how they play the game. Hopefully, if I am needed, it will feel kind of familiar. To be fair, what better shooters to feed to.''

Wilson said she had watched most of Steel's games this season and was encouraged by the development of the young players in the side.

''Storm Purvis, particularly, is outstanding. I've really enjoyed watching her and her progress. I've also really enjoyed watching Courtney (Tairi). I think she's got huge potential and hopefully huge potential for New Zealand one day.''

Steel co-coach Janine Southby said they were rapt to have found someone with Wilson's experience and leadership to call on for tonight's game.

''We needed someone, who could play wing attack and centre,'' Southby said.

''We've got lots of young, exciting players, but to also know we've got some experience on the bench is a real bonus at this stage in the season.''

Wilson has returned to study this year at the New Zealand College of Massage, where is completing a diploma in sports massage. She has two young sons, Harper, 4, and Lincoln, 2 with husband, former All Black and Black Cap, Jeff Wilson.

Former Mystics defender Stephanie Bond will remain with Steel for tonight's game with Sheryl Scanlan still sidelined after pulling ligaments in her ankle.

Steel began the ANZ Championship brightly, winning two of their opening three games, but have battled since then, dropping their past six outings.

They have nothing to lose against a classy Mystics unit, who sit first equal on the ladder and start tonight's game as raging hot favourites.

In other games yesterday, the Adelaide Thunderbirds gained a pivotal 54-49 victory over the Queensland Firebirds, while the New South Wales Swifts held on to pip the West Coast Fever 51-49 in a thriller.