Netball fans did a double take when former Silver Fern Ellen Halpenny kitted up for the Southern Steel last night.
The new police officer, who retired from netball last year, was called into the Steel shooting circle as injury cover and made an impact in their morale boosting 41-40 win over the Waitako Bay of Plenty Magic.
Halpenny got a phone call from the Steel about three weeks ago after Georgia Heffernan was ruled out of the season with an ACL injury. Tragically Jennifer O’Connell suffered the same fate last week and the Steel had lost two-thirds of their shooting end.
“The idea was thrown out when Georgia went down and I just had to organise some things at my end with work and my availability. Also making sure that I didn’t just rock up having done no shooting practice, nothing like that and I wanted to make sure that I could still put out a good performance on court too,” Halpenny said.
As a police officer, Halpenny keeps fit but not on the same level as an elite netballer.
“Nothing to the intensity of what those girls are training week in, week out. I think it was just more about getting the ball to the post and actually catching the ball, I hadn’t done that in over a year so it’s definitely a little bit foreign but at the same time it’s just like riding a bike.”
Halpenny hasn’t played any netball since early June last year when she played in the ANZ Premiership grand final for the Northern Stars.