As the Northern Stars head into their ANZ Premiership elimination final showdown against the Ascot Park Southern Steel in Invercargill this week, netball fans will have their last chances to see Leana de Bruin out on court as the former Silver Fern will not return to the court in 2020.
After captaining the Northern Stars in the inaugural 2017 season, de Bruin played a year in the Australian netball league, before agreeing to put retirement on hold and return to New Zealand to captain the Stars in their best ever season.
Also not returning as a player in 2020 is Stars assistant coach Temepara Bailey who was brought in as a replacement for Grace Kara (pregnancy) this season.
Head coach Kiri Wills paid tribute to the legendary pair’s contribution to the success of the team and franchise.
“They both set extremely high standards for themselves and we have all benefited from aspiring to match those standards. They leave the franchise in a better place and we are extremely grateful for their contribution,” said Wills.
Dianne Lasenby, Northern Stars General Manager said the franchise was delighted that the Northern Stars make the ANZ Premiership finals series for the first time in the 3-year history of the franchise. “Without the experience of Leana in the defensive end and Temepara in the mid court guiding our young middies, we certainly would not be where we are today.”
Lasenby also commented on de Bruin’s all-round captaincy. “Leana‘s professional work ethic on and off the court is impeccable and she is a real role model to the younger players in the team and the wider netball community.”
The Northern Stars Board are already in the planning stages for 2020 and are pleased to announce they are currently undergoing processes to re-appoint Head Coach Kiri Wills for a further term.