Leana de Bruin will lead the Northern Stars for the inaugural season of the ANZ Premiership, named as the first captain of New Zealand’s newest professional sports team.

While de Bruin says the news may not come as a huge surprise for some, coach Julie Hoornweg involved the rest of the team before making the decision. “Although it may be expected, you don’t know for sure how the other players feel” she said, “obviously I’m not getting any younger and Julie may have wanted to look to the future, so it’s a real privilege.”

Senior midcourter Courtney Tairi and young defender Holly Fowler will support de Bruin as part of a leadership group.

The Silver Ferns centurion, who has now retired from international netball, is relishing the chance to lend her experience, tactical nous and professional attitude to the Stars, and is excited by the young talent in the team. “It’s great to see how they take on board what you tell them” de Bruin said, “I’m looking forward to seeing how they continue to grow.”

de Bruin is eager to see how it all comes together on court when the Stars join the other five ANZ Premiership teams for the pre-season tournament at Te Wānanga o Raukawa in Otaki. “We haven’t played together at all, so I have no idea what to expect, but every week we’ve become fitter, more agile and used to the way Julie trains. She’s really open and honest, and there are no shortcuts”, de Bruin said of Hoornweg’s style. “It’s a bit of old-school.”

The pre-season tournament well be played on March 10-12 and the ANZ Premiership begins on March 26.