The Northern Stars will have a touch of Caribbean flavour next season as the South Auckland based franchise announced the signing of Trinidad and Tobago defender Daystar Swift in their 2020 ANZ Premiership team today.
Standing at 1.91m tall, Trinidadian international Swift brings some much needed height into the defensive circle whichhead coach Kiri Wills highlights as key to being competitive in the modern era.
“The continued preference for teams both nationally and internationally to contract and develop taller and taller shooters requires a similar response and we need to be able to counteract that,” Wills said.
The Northern Stars have re-signed Maia Wilson, Mila Reuelu-Buchanan, Storm Purvis and Kate Burley from the side who went down to the Central Pulse by 4 goals in the 2019 ANZ Premiership grand final.
Northern Stars General Manager, Dianne Lasenby says their return to the side will bring stability on and off the court.
“We have taken our time to carefully select the right players to complement Maia, Mila, Storm and Kate, and ensure we continue with the outstanding culture that has been built within the team over the last 2 years since Kiri was appointed as head coach.” Lasenby said.
The 2020 ANZ Premiership will also see the return of former Stars captain Grace Kara and midcourter Fa’amu Ioane who were both unavailable in 2019 due to pregnancy (Kara) and injury (Ioane).
“Consistency in our squad has always been a priority so I am pleased we have retained our 2019 grand finalists andwelcome back Grace and Fa’amu who already have established connections here,” Wills said.
Completing the 2020 line-up is Jamie Hume from the Northern Mystics, Lisa Mather from the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic and the return of Julianna Naoupu to franchise competition.
“I’ve had my eye on both Jamie and Lisa for a long time as they’d been identified in the Netball New Zealand pathway from an early age, so I am really excited to be working with them and being a part of their growth and development,” Wills said.
Naoupu represented Samoa at the 2015 Netball World Cup and has been unable to play as a New Zealand eligible player in the ANZ Premiership until the 2020 season.
She has continued to play netball in her hometown of Christchurch and is excited about getting back into top level competition.
Wills added, “Julianna plays both shooting positions well and will give us variety in our line ups.”
Northern Stars 2020 ANZ Premiership Team