Netball: Sport's courting couple reunited as Mystic's new signing hits town

By Dana Johannsen

Daryl and Julie Corletto are happy the long separations of last season are over. Photo / Dean Purcell
Daryl and Julie Corletto are happy the long separations of last season are over. Photo / Dean Purcell

Life is looking up for NZ Breakers' shooting guard Daryl Corletto in his adopted home town.

"Auckland's a great place - even better now," he smiles.

As half of a sporting couple, he spent long stretches of last season living apart from wife Julie, an Australian international netballer.

But the duo will both be playing in Auckland this season. Julie will join the Northern Mystics as their import player for the 2013 transtasman league. It's a move that should have positive spinoffs for the Auckland franchises.

"[The Breakers] are really happy to hear Jules is going to be joining me down here. I really struggled this year for the last five or six weeks after she went back to Melbourne and took my dog with her," said Daryl.

"Our dog," corrects Julie.

The Australian defender, who was in Auckland over the weekend, officially signed with the Mystics on Friday - a move signposted by her former club the Melbourne Vixens when they announced her departure early last week.

The shift to the Mystics had been predicted after Daryl re-signed for another two years with the Breakers at the end of last season.

Daryl joined the Breakers for the 2011-12 season after the New Zealand outfit threw him a career lifeline when the Melbourne Tigers turned their back on him.

It was a winning move for the 1.93m player who helped the Breakers defend their Australian NBL crown.

Coming off contract with the Vixens at the end of the season, Julie made the decision to join her husband in Auckland.

"One of the hardest things last season was being apart for so long. I know Daz really enjoyed it when I did manage to get over - didn't you?" she said, prodding her husband.

"We obviously both travel a lot with our sport, so it just makes things easier when we live in the same house."

Before signing with the Mystics, the star defender first cleared the path with Netball Australia, who have previously been reluctant to select overseas-based players.

Australian coach Lisa Alexander's preference is for her squad to play for Australian franchises, but is willing to make a concession for her top defender.

"Netball Australia have been really good. We've had quite a few meetings before we made this decision and they understood I have to be happy in my life off the court as well."

Julie Corletto said she was still getting her head around the idea of teaming up with some of her international rivals at the Mystics, as well as being coached by former Silver Ferns coach Ruth Aitken.

"I've obviously played against Maria Tutaia a lot, so it'll be nice to be on the same team for once - I think it's a smart move for me."

Julie returns to Australia today, linking up with the Diamonds in camp ahead of next month's Constellation Cup series, while Daryl stays in Auckland with the Breakers who kick off pre-season training this Friday.

- NZ Herald

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_n6 at 30 Jul 2014 21:10:11 Processing Time: 695ms