Experienced Silver Ferns mid-courter Grace Kara will captain the Northern Stars when she debuts for the South Auckland based side in the 2018 ANZ Premiership.

Kara, nee Rasmussen, has been confirmed to guide the side in just their second year of New Zealand’s elite netball competition.

She is returning to her Auckland roots after time with the Waikato-BOP Magic and Northern Mystics, and is a key signing for the club which was founded last year and will be coached by New Zealand under-21 coach Kiri Wills.

Wills said the wing attack brought so much to the captaincy role for a Stars side filled with new combinations.

“Grace has a quiet strength about her, she is someone who leads by example, has a high work-rate on court and brings experience to the squad which is important both on and off the court,” she said.

“Grace has been a key signing for the Northern Stars this year, not only with the skills that she brings to our attacking line but for her leadership skills as well. Beneath the quiet exterior she is a tough competitor and so it really was an easy decision to make her Captain.”

Kara, who celebrates her 30th birthday later this week, was often used as a utility in the past – having made her Silver Ferns debut as a young goal attack in 2010 – but has seen her game grow in the wing attack role with her vision, speed and silky ball skills making her a threat at every level of the game.

She will be a vital cog on the wing for a new-look Stars shooting circle which includes former Silver Ferns Paula Griffin, Ellen Halpenny and Stars foundation member Maia Wilson.

It is an exciting squad for Wills, who is in her first season with the Stars, with Silver Ferns Kara, Kayla Cullen and Wilson in the side alongside New Zealand U21 World Youth Cup team member Fa’amu Ioane and England Roses captain Ama Agbeze.

The Northern Stars open their ANZ Premiership campaign against the Silvermoon Tactix in Palmerston North on May 6.