Northern Stars

Netball Hoop

Northern Stars are a New Zealand netball team based in South and East Auckland. The team plays their home games at Pulman Arena, though they used to play Vodafone Events Centre and ASB Kohimarama initially in 2017. The Stars are currently coached by Kiri Willis and the assistant coach is Paula Smith.

They are the newest team in the ANZ Premiership, having been founded in 2016, just before the competition first began in 2017. The Stars made the grand final of the competition in 2019 and 2021.

The Team’s Beginnings

The Northern Stars became part of the ANZ Premiership in 2017, joining the previous New Zealand teams from the ANZ Championship. Netball Australia and Netball New Zealand discontinued the ANZ Championship after the 2016 season, and Netball New Zealand replaced it with the ANZ Premiership.

The ANZ Premiership was founded by Northern stars and the five former New Zealand ANZ Championship teams: Central Pulse, Mainland Tactix, Northern Mystics, Southern Steel, and Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic.

The team’s name derives from the Matariki star cluster, which also is also represented in their logo. Former Melbourne Vixens head coach Julie Hoornweg was named Stars inaugural head coach and Leana de Bruin became their first captain.

Grand Final Appearances

The Stars have been quite successful in the ANZ Premiership, though they just missed out on two occasions on winning a league title. In 2019, they finished 3rd overall, winning 6 games and losing 9. Although they didn’t have an amazing regular season in terms of their win-loss ratio, the Stars managed to exceed expectations and advance to the final. They came up against a strong Central Pulse side and would battle it out in a very competitive contest. The Stars narrowly lost the game 52–48 at Te Rauparaha Arena.

In 2020 and 2021 the Stars finished 4th overall and failed to make the finals. But in 2022 they enjoyed their best season yet. The Stars finished the regular season with an impressive 11 wins and 4 losses, and 2nd overall on the league table. Once again, they would face off against Central Pulse with the opportunity to take their revenge for their bitter 2019 defeat. This time they played at TSB Bank Arena in Wellington, Central Pulse’s home venue, making the task even steeper. Unfortunately for the Stars, this game would not be as closely contested as the 2019 final. It proved too much of a challenge to overcome a ruthless Pulse team, as the Stars ended up on the losing side by a score of 56–37, again finishing the season as runners-up.

2023 Squad

  • Gina Crampton
  • Holly Fowler
  • Jamie Hume
  • Amorangi Malesala
  • Samon Nathan
  • Kelera Nawai-Caucau
  • Lisa Putt
  • Mila Reuelu-Buchanan
  • Elle Temu
  • Maia Wilson (Captain)

Recent Highlights

The Northern Stars are enjoying a solid 2023 season so far. A highlight in this season came when they defeated the Mystics in a thrilling, nail biting contest, which finished 79–77 in extra extra-time. It was the first time a game had gone to extra extra-time. The Stars started the game brightly and very much on the front foot. They ran the Mystics ragged across the court, forcing several turnovers in quick succession. But the Mystics would not succumb to the pressure so easily, not for long at least, and they came back to also force turnovers.

The Mystics used this momentum to get in front on the scoreboard, but not for long. The Stars fought back to tie the game, before scoring a go-ahead goal. The game would continue in this see-saw fashion, with each team wanting to win just as much as the other. The Stars ended up having just a tiny bit more focus though, and Malesala made the difference with an interception that resulted in a crucial goal. The Stars then got the ball to the dependable Malesala, who steadily downed the ball through the net to hand the Stars an incredibly dramatic win that will be remembered for a very long time.

For the everything you need to know about the Northern Stars, like their upcoming fixtures and the team’s merchandise, visit their official website.

Netball Hoop