Familiar faces return to Stars for 2022
Several foundation members are the two new faces in the Robinhood Stars squad for the 2022 ANZ Premiership season.
Former Silver Ferns defender Kayla Johnson (née Cullen) is back in the purple dress, after spending the past two years in Australia and returning home to New Zealand. Defender Holly Fowler also returns to the Stars after two campaigns with the Splice Construction Magic.
The Stars have retained eight of last season's contracted 10 players, which includes captain Maia Wilson, shooter Jamie Hume and midcourters Mila Reuelu-Buchanan and Lisa Mather. Defenders Anna Harrison and Elle Temu, midcourter Gina Crampton and shooter Amorangi Malesala also return to the franchise after successful first seasons with the Stars.
Shooter Monica Falkner and defender Oceane Maihi have both taken up other opportunities and Stars General Manager Dianne Lasenby's shown appreciation for their contributions to the organisation."Our aim was to retain as many of our 2021 squad as possible which we are delighted we have been able to do so with the exception of Oceane and Monica who opted to look at other opportunities. We thank them for their contribution to the Stars and wish them well," Lasenby said.
Head coach Kiri Wills can't wait to see what both Johnson and Fowler can add to an already exciting roster. "She's one of those players where you'll be standing on the side of the court at training and she'll do something and you'll go ‘how did she do that?’," Wills said.
"She's physically and skill-wise one of the most capable players I've ever coached and can do things nobody else can do - she's a freak. "Holly works really hard and can play a tight man-on style and make her opponent's life sheer misery. She adds speed around the front if playing goal defence and a nice point of difference in terms of the goal defence and wing defence position and is solid on attack too," Wills explained.
Both Johnson and Fowler's last game for the Stars was during the 2019 final against the Te Wānanga o Raukawa Central Pulse and Wills has made sure to keep communication lines open since and followed their respective journeys closely.
Robinhood Stars 2022 ANZ Premiership team: