• "Weird feeling" for netballer Parsons in final countdown

"Weird feeling" for netballer Parsons in final countdown

Suggest to Hawke's Bay netballer Anna Parsons this has to be a week of mixed emotions for her and she is quick to agree.

The team she plays for, Thirsty Whale Otane Force, will take on the team she is an assistant coach of, defending champions Napier Girls' High School, in Friday night's Hawke's Bay Super 8 Club competition final in Taradale's Pettigrew-Green Arena.

"It is a weird feeling. It was always the goal to have these two teams in the final ... you want to see the team succeed," Parsons said referring to NGHS.

"It is a nice situation."

Parsons, 28, and her Otane head coach Annemarie Kupa are both assistant coaches to NGHS mentor Charissa Barham. But those roles came to a halt for the week after NGHS beat Havelock North High School in tonight's round of the Super 12 secondary schools competition in which NGHS are also the defending champions.

A teacher at NGHS, Parsons, will have to wait until tomorrow night's Otane training session before finding out whether she will have the wing defence bib or one of the defensive circle ones on Friday night. The sister of Magpies rugby lock Tom Parsons is comfortable in either role.

Like Barham, Parsons, was impressed with how NGHS, playing without key midcourters Parris Petera and Ashleigh Poi, recovered from an eight goal deficit to finish one goal behind Otane last week.

"It shows the culture within the NGHS team. They brought a bit of intensity which I'm sure they will bring again on Friday night," Parsons said.

When Parsons was asked if her Otane team could complete an unbeaten season on Friday night we got the expected diplomatic reply.

'We've got the ability to win but I don't think NGHS can be under estimated."

Parsons intends to pursue head coach roles when her playing days end.

"Anna is a fantastic up and coming coach and is a fantastic assistant coach," Barham said.

"She is a bit calmer than me. I am a bit more direct but she has a lovely manner with the girls." Barham added.

Seventeen-year-old Petera is the daughter of coach Kupa. She was an influential architect
of the NGHS team's wins against her whanau club in the 2018 and '19 finals and is naturally hoping for a three-peat on Friday night.

"I'm confident the girls can do it if we stick to our structures. They did a good job without Ash and I last week and proved we are a team of 11."

Petera pointed out there has been plenty of friendly banter between her and family members in the Otane side this week. She agreed it must be tough for Parsons to be in the situation she is in.

"I'm sure Mum and Anna will be among the first to congratulate us should we get the win this week," Petera added.

Next year she will begin a Bachelor of Sports Coaching degree at Canterbury University.

In other games on Friday night Tremains All In Elusive will start as slight favourites in the playoff for third against BM Accounting HHSOG Huia and there isn't expected to be more than four goals between Optimise Physio Outkast Sports and Vet Services Central Sports in the playoff for fifth.

Squads for the final:
Napier Girls' High School: Sahria Adams, Katie Beal, Tabitha Coddington, Ratahi Corbett, Braxton Gallagher, Shyan Murphy, Parris Petera, Ashleigh Poi, Caitlin Smith, Jessica Taylor, Charlotte Turner.
Otane Force: Briar Chalmers, Treyana Faulkner, Demi Forshaw, Dallace Heremaia, Millie Ironside, Kiana Jessup-Tahau, Valentine Kahukura, Tammy Kupa, Penny McLeod, Anna Parsons, Mia Reeves, Ashleigh Renata, Jaimee Tapine, Melissa Te Huki.