After bouncing back towards the end of last season, promises that the Northern Mystics were just starting to re-build, look like becoming a reality.
Netball legend Noeline Taurua has joined old friend and former team mate, Debbie Fuller, on the Mystics “brains trust”, and Chris Tennant is back as manager after spending last season seconded to Netball New Zealand.
The on court line-up has also been settled; contracts have been sealed yielding a team that mixes youth and promise with some of the game’s greatest internationals.
So, as one of the key sponsors, The Trusts is delighted to report that the Mystics in the coming season, will be launching from a formidable platform both on and off the court.
Off the court there is the experience of Debbie Fuller and Noeline Taurua both of whom know what it takes to reach the top in this most demanding of all netball competitions. Debbie took the Mystics to the finals in 2011 and the semis in 2012 while Noeline went one better by taking the Magic to the only premiership yet won by a New Zealand franchise.
On-court, the team is stacked with International players, at the head of which are ANZ and test centurions Laura Langman and Maria Tutaia. In total, there are six Silver Ferns and a former Fern plus an England international and several massively talented youth representatives.
As a result, there’s a fizz around the franchise that suggests the Mystics will enter next season’s ANZ Championship ready to pick up the winning ways that they’d rediscovered in the second half of last season.
Joining Langman in the midcourt is yet another Silver Fern, 11-cap Millie Lees, who is returning from Wellington’s Haier Pulse. Youth international Nadia Loveday is back for her second season and Katherine Coffin, has followed Noeline north from Waikato/Bay of Plenty’s Kia Magic. Katherine is niece of former Fern and now TV1 sports anchor, Jennie-May Coffin.
England international Serena Guthrie has also joined for her first taste of the world’s most ferocious netball series.
Returning to a young defence line-up is the outstanding young player of recent years, Kayla Cullen. Kayla had a meteoric rise through the game to earn selection to the Mystics, the Silver Ferns, and the Fastnet Ferns. She now returns to the Mystics after a year recovering from an ACL injury and knee reconstruction.
Completing a formidable defence are last season’s big improver Temalisi Fakahokotau and former Fern Sulu Tone-Fitzpatrick who has come home after stints with the Magic and Southern Steel.
At the “sharp-end”, Silver Ferns Maria Tutuaia and Catherine Latu are teamed with Paula Griffin and Elsa Brown. Paula is a former Mystic returning from the Pulse, while Elsa is facing the heat of the ANZ championship for the first time.
Anna Harrison who is pregnant, will be absent for the coming season.
The side has its first ANZ Championship game
in March and the home game draw is:
Monday 23 March v Pulse
Sunday 29 March v Southern Steel
Sunday 26 April v Queensland Firebirds
Sunday 3 May v Canterbury Tactix
Monday 18 May v Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic
Monday 1 June v Melbourne Vixens