The opportunity to have a full squad training together for the first time since December was something for Trident Homes Tactix’ Marianne Delaney-Hoshek to relish as they looked to dissect a disappointing first-up ANZ Premiership defeat – only for the head coach to be side-lined as a household contact of a family member who has tested positive to Covid.
Delaney-Hoshek has been absent from training this week and will miss Sunday’s round two game against the Stars at Cowles Stadium in Christchurch as she isolates at home with her family.
Tactix assistant coach Tania Hoffman will be courtside to guide the team for the match although Delaney-Hoshek said she would have the phone in hand to stay in touch as her side aims to bounce back from last week’s loss to the Steel.
Delaney-Hoshek said it was just another hurdle to clear in what had been a challenging few weeks for her Covid-impacted squad – including four players who had tested positive and two household contacts who had had to isolate.
“When you have an entire playing end out of action at the same time, just prior to the start of the competition, it’s hard on those connections,” she said.
“It has been a little bit difficult to navigate but, in all honesty, this is how it’s going to be, so we just had to get out there. It is a tricky time, but everyone is going to have these challenges at some point.
“Obviously, we were disappointed with the result, but we know we are better than that.”
She said it had been frustrating to “be behind the eight-ball” after having a positive build-up during their Premiership pre-season.
Ellie Bird, who played all but 11 minutes of last week’s game, continues to recover from a fractured tibia and Delaney-Hoshek hopes to have a full contingent of attackers available to her for a tough second-round encounter with the Stars, albeit with some on managed minutes.
“It was really good to have everyone together to debrief the Steel game – it was the first time we’ve all been together at training since December so it’s about building those connections in real time now and moving forward,” she said. “We’ve got our systems in place to manage as best as we can, we’re well acquainted with Zoom meetings, and we have a leadership group who have stepped up in any absences – it’s niggly but it’s still good to be able to get out there.”
Captain Kimiora Poi echoed her coach’s comments, feeling a lack of time together, particularly up front, saw them slip into some costly mistakes in their season opener.
“We saw some basic errors that just aren’t us and those links that work well for us, were not happening. I think that is a mix of the pressure that the Steel put on us but also some of the challenges with the impacts of Covid,” she said. “But that’s the way the season is going to roll and it’s how we react to those situations we’re put in.”
Poi said they had pinpointed some key areas to work on against the Stars including remedying the individual errors.
“It is an easy fix because it is on us to get it right – it’s our own individual responsibility. We put ourselves in a position to get back to two (against the Steel), just before halftime, but it was just the critical moments when we did not work hard enough to be an option. Those are things we can turn around quickly and making sure we treasure that ball when we do get it.”