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Softball: Kiwi captain says Australia are no easy beats

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

New Zealand Black Sox softball captain, Nathan Nukunuku is expecting a tough tussle this weekend when the home side hosts the Australian Steelers.

With both teams at the end of their seasons, he says there’s no excuses for the teams to not put on a top display at Rosdale Park, North Harbour on Friday night and then two games on Saturday.

"The time of the games is at the end of the seasons and everyone is ready to go for it," says Nukunuku whose wife, Katrina is also a national rep, having recently been named in the women’s White Sox team.

"I’m hoping for a big crowd behind us. In the tough times of a game they help us battle through. Softball supporters are quite loud and they really give it to the opposition," says the veteran Black Sox infielder who believes they Aussie Steelers have got better over recent years.

"At one stage the Aussies didn’t have a great senior programme, but their junior programme was very good and they won three or four junior world titles, but now all of those junior guys have come through and a lot of their guys have spent time in North America. They’ll be tough to beat this weekend. They were probably the second best team at the World Champs last year, even though we beat Venezuela in the final," says Nukunuku.

Australia will be aiming to avenge their feisty quarterfinal loss to the Black Sox in the 2013 World Championships while the New Zealand features Te Wera Bishop who has spent time with the Boston Red Socks as well as a few experienced players such as, Donny Hale, Brad Rona as well as Thomas Makea.

Australia have Adam Folkard and Andrew Kirkpatrick as their pitching staff. Folkard has been clocked pitching at just under 140kph and is widely regarded as the world’s best while Kirkpatrick helped Ramblers win the New Zealand club title recently.

Games will be played Friday 28 March at 7.30pm and Saturday 29 March midday and 2.30pm. All three games will be live on SKY Television.

Other than hosting the world championships in 2013, these tests represent the first time the Black Sox have been involved in an international game on home soil since 2008.

The series will be played at Tradestaff Rosedale Park in North Harbour, the scene of the Black Sox World Championships win last year.

The game schedule (live of SKYSPORTS) is as follows:

Game 1: Fri March 28 - 7:30pm

Game 2: Sat March 29 - 12:00pm

Game 3: Sat March 29 - 2:30pm

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