Streutker ecstatic with Proteas career start

netball06 November 2023 08:38
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Rolene Streutker © Gallo Images

Keeping a wide smile was important in helping Rolene Streutker keep a cool head in her Spar Proteas debut. The goal shooter made her maiden appearance for the senior national team in South Africa’s 62-43 loss against World Champs Australia.

Streutker was coach Norma Plummer’s last minute change to the squad that travelled Down Under for a three test series, she replaced Owethu Ngubane who had to pull out due to academic reasons. In her debut, Streutker achieved a 92 per cent conversion rate in the shooting circle in the match where she came in the last minutes of the third quarter after coming in for Ine-Marí Venter.

“I think instinct took over. I was smiling the whole time, it was just pure joy. It was something I have worked hard for and it finally happened. It is such a privilege and an honour to represent the country. I don’t think any amount of words and thank you would tell you how much it feels. But I have to say it’s excellent timing from God. I came into the team as a training partner at the beginning of the year and going to Australia. Then going to a few camps in between, I have to say it was so great being able to familiarise myself with the team and getting that connection before I get on court, it made it a lot easier for me. And also getting to know coach Norma and coach Nick (Nicole Cusack), it made the transition a bit smoother,” she says.

Now that she has had a taste of being a national, Streutker understands that there is a lot of hard work lying ahead for her in order to make sure that she gains more caps and represents South Africa at different international events.

“I had always told my parents that I just don’t want to get into the team but I want to get into the team and stay there. Things like that can be so unpredictable. You can be in the team one year and the next you might not be invited. Hard work might have gotten me there but I have to keep working hard. I have to keep what I am doing and showing that I really want to be here and not take anything for granted and being lazy with it. Improving and taking everything they give me will help keep me in the team,” she says.

They youngster says she gains a lot from players who have more experience at international level.

“Being able to play with Nichole (Taljaard) and Lefebre (Rademan) helps me a lot but I think being able to play the different styles of the play. One thing coach Norma always says is you can’t be one type of player. You need to get out of your comfort zone and be able to switch it up, depending on the defender you are playing against,” she says.

Streukter says she’s grateful for an incredible coach, Manuel (Manny) Ferreira who laid a good foundation in her early days at Hoërskool Menlopark. She contined being molded in the hands of one of the most experienced netball brains in South Africa, Burta de Kock being appointed in the World Netball Coaches Advisory Board ahead of the 2023 Netball World Cup.

“I was fortunate to have a great coach in high school. He was actually a man, Manny Ferreira. We were fortunate enough to be reigning champions from Grade 8 until Matric in SA and then I went to UFS (University of the Free State), working under coach Burta who was also such a lovely coach. I gained a lot of knowledge. Tannie Burta always says you need to know how to bench before you can play,” she says.

De Kock has been responsible of shaping a lot of Proteas including Karla Pretorius, Lefebre Rademan, Refiloe Nketsa, and Khanyisa Chawane, who were all part of the team that travelled to Australia for the series. The goal attack says the former Free State Crinums coach is instils a lot discipline in her players which is what makes them thrive.

“I must say Tannie Burta has a big role in that. She really knows how to breed hard work, how to instil that in a person, to respect the sport as much as you respect yourself. Hard work is the No 1 thing for her, for example when we have training at 6pm, everyone arrives at 5.30pm and we start training at 5.50pm. That is just a small thing but all the small things build up to the big things,” she explains.

Streukter hopes her time on the court against the Diamonds caught the attention of scouts from around the world as she would love to play in a professional setting, especially in Australia’s Suncorp Super Netball season.

“I would love to get a contract especially in Australia, maybe that is another stepping stone,” she says.