Northern Stars inaugural captain Leana De Bruin returns to lead the team in the 2019 ANZ Premiership, with Ellen Halpenny named vice-captain.

De Bruin, 41, returns to the squad after captaining the Adelaide Thunderbirds in the 2018 Australian netball league.

“I’m honoured to be in this position again with the support of Kiri and the team and I’m looking forward to the challenge,” says De Bruin.

Over the first two ANZ Premiership seasons the Stars have managed four wins each year, a statistic De Bruin is hungry to turn around.

“Last time I was captain of the Stars the results weren’t that great, but I believe we have a team to really push to go far this year and build our younger players for the future.”

Head Coach Kiri Wills says De Bruin’s selection was a no brainer for the management team who made the final decision.

“Leana has huge leadership experience and I know the younger players in our team will thrive under her guidance.”

Wills added, “in terms of vice captaincy, we felt that Ellen was here in 2018, she understands what my coaching philosophy is about and where the Stars are heading as a franchise. Ellen is also a great team player who is not afraid to have tough conversations with her team mates.”

De Bruin and Halpenny played together previously for four seasons at the WBOP Magic between 2013 – 2016 and represented New Zealand at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

“Ellen has really matured since our earlier years of playing together, she’s such a smart player and tells you how it is and I’m excited to see how she grows in this role,” says De Bruin.

Halpenny was shocked at the unexpected selection and says she’s excited at the opportunity to lead a great group of players.

“I definitely wasn’t expecting this, but it’s an honour especially with a slightly new team. Every player brings something different to the team and that’s a huge part of the Stars culture, we accept differences and keep moving forward together,” says Halpenny.

The Northern Stars will play the Northern Mystics on Saturday 2nd February in Whangarei in an open to the public pre-season game, before all teams gather in Otaki for the ANZ Premiership pre-season tournament from 8-10 February.

Northern Stars ANZ Premiership season memberships now on sale here.