The Southern Steel will look to honour one of the region’s most beloved netball figures on Sunday.
It will play the Northern Mystics for the newly established Georgie Salter Memorial Trophy in Invercargill.
Georgie, who died in November last year, was one of Otago’s greatest coaches and also coached the Auckland Diamonds in 2001 and 2002. Her memorial trophy will be played for once a year when the Steel and Mystics meet in the South.
“It’s a beautiful way to remember her. We as a whanau are always going to remember her obviously, but it’s nice for her wider netball whanau to have this as well. But, at the same time, she wouldn’t want all the fuss,” daughter Rihi Salter said.
Georgie’s niece and Steel coach Reinga Bloxham was eagerly anticipating the game.
“I feel like it’s an awesome way to celebrate the competitiveness, the passion, the love of the game that Georgie had for netball, her players and all the people she has been involved with in the netball world,” Bloxham said.
Georgie had always enjoyed the Gordon Hunter Memorial Trophy rugby games played between the Highlanders and the Blues.
“I think its special they have the same thing going on in their respective codes – they were great mates and had similar paths in sport but also had their lives cut tragically short,” Rihi said.
Mystics coach Helene Wilson said her team included three players who had worked closely with Salter at various stages in their netball career.
“While a staunchly proud southerner, Georgie was one of those true gems of netball whose passion for the game itself meant she was willing to share her knowledge far and wide to see the sport evolve.
“As a team, the Mystics are honoured to contest this trophy in her memory,” she said.
The Steel hosts all six ANZ Premiership teams for the Super Sunday event. The Steel and Mystics play at 4pm.
“There are people in every single franchise who are connected to Georgie in some way so it’s fantastic they are all there,” Rihi said.
The Waitaki Girls’ High School kapa haka group will perform and also stage a guard of honour for the two teams.
On Tuesday, Georgie’s family received her posthumous New Zealand Order of Merit for services to netball on her behalf at an investiture ceremony in Wellington.
Rihi said her mother was told before she died she was going to receive the honour for her lifelong involvement with netball as a player, coach and administrator.
Tuesday’s investiture ceremony came at the end of a 10-day journey across the North Island for Georgie’s whanau.
In a convoy of campervans, they had travelled from Oamaru to Auckland together, stopping at four marae for kawe mate (carry the dead) ceremonies.
“It’s a process of taking your spirit home,” Rihi said.
A photo of Georgie was hung on a wall of each marae – Te Puke, Kahuranaki, Te Reinga and Maungapohatu.
The family will also travel to Invercargill on Sunday to watch the Southern Steel and Northern Mystics contest the inaugural Georgie Salter Memorial Trophy.
North Otago Netball is also paying tribute to Salter this weekend.
A minute’s silence will be held at junior and senior netball tomorrow, at 10am and then again at 12pm.
All teams are invited to wear a black arm band during their game. Black tape will be available at the office.