Getting a 4-year-old to coach the “big girls” paid dividends for an Ardgowan School netball team.

Entering a competition to do the guard of honour at Sunday’s ANZ Premiership match between the Southern Steel and the Waitaki Bay of Plenty Magic, the Year 6 Diamonds netball team created a video of Clara Conlan (4), the younger sister of one of the players, coaching the side through Netball Smart warm-ups.

The video was a hit with Southern Steel management, who selected the North Otago team as the winner. The team also got to decorate the Steel’s dressing room before the game.

Coach Metka Conlan said the 10 players were thrilled with the opportunity, and spent last Friday creating banners and inspirational messages for the dressing room.

As Steel and Magic players walked out on court for the warm up, the players lined up to create the guard of honour and received high-fives from all the players.

It was a memorable occasion for the team, and it was the first live representative match most of the team had been to.

“They had an absolute blast. They were so inspired and excited,” Conlan said.

“I just think it’s something they are going to remember for a very, very long time. It was pretty special.”

They were some of the first to line up for autographs and photos following the Steel’s tense 59-58 win, but there was one player they were more excited about meeting than the rest – North Otago product Taneisha Fifita.

“They were totally, totally rapt to watch and meet Taneisha. They were stoked to see her in action.”