There’s something in the water at the Fifita household.
Former North Otago netballer Losa Fifita (17) has been named as a Southern Steel training partner for the ANZ Premiership team’s 2022 season, alongside shooter Kiana Pelasio and midcourter Ivari Christie.
The defender follows in the footsteps of her older sister, Taneisha, who starred at goal keep for the Steel over the past two seasons. However, Losa will not have her sister by her side next season, as Taneisha recently announced she would be taking a break from professional netball to fulfil her lifelong dream of completing her mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Losa said she was thrilled to be named as a training partner for the upcoming season.
“Obviously it means a lot. I’m super excited, but nervous at the same time, to come into the Steel environment, but I’m willing to take this next step to continue my netball at a much higher level, especially coming straight from school,” Losa said.
Steel coach Reinga Bloxham was looking forward to watching Losa’s development in an elite environment.
“Young and talented best describes Losa. She has certainly stood out this season regardless of whether its playing school, club and representative netball. She has the ability to get gains and needs to be extended in an environment where she can still learn and grow,” Bloxham said.
When Taneisha signed with the Steel in 2020, the Fifita family moved to Invercargill to support her, and Losa transferred from Waitaki Girls’ High School to Southland Girls’.
Losa, who is now in her last year at school, said she had “little talks” to her sister about the Steel environment and having her to speak to was helpful.
“Any questions I just ask her,” Losa said.
Being able to train alongside Silver Ferns at the Steel and experienced defenders, such as Te Huinga Reo Selby-Rickit, was exciting.
“I’ve grown up to look up to these players and it’s crazy that I’ll be training with them.
“I’m looking forward to developing my skills and knowledge of the game, and just learning and growing so that I’m ready for when the season starts again.”
Losa was also named in the New Zealand Secondary Schools’ netball squad this year and would attend another training camp next month, from which the team would be selected.
Looking back on her time in North Otago, Losa said her coaches, Georgie Salter, Rihi Salter and Steve Ross, and the netball community paved the way for a career in netball.
“[Georgie] was a massive part of my netball career, my netball journey.”
She was also grateful for the support of Southland Girls’ coach Jess Huia.