Victorious New Zealand under-21 coach Kiri Wills is set to tackle a new coaching role having been named to guide the Northern Stars in the ANZ Premiership.

Wills has recently returned with the national age-group side from the World Youth Cup in Botswana where she guided them to gold and back-to-back world titles.

She will take over from Australian Julie Hoornweg who coached the new Northern Stars team during their debut season in New Zealand's elite domestic league.
Northern Stars chairman Bill Francis said it was an exciting step forward for the club which was looking to build on the foundations built in their inaugural campaign.

"We've seen what Kiri has done with some of the country's brightest stars in the national under-21 side at the World Youth Cup, and we're very pleased to have her on board with our Stars," he said.

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"It is also encouraging for us to see a New Zealand coach come through the pathways in this country and reach their goal of coaching at the top level."

Wills said she was delighted to take on the job in New Zealand's toughest netball league with the country's newest team.

"It has been an ambition of mine to guide a team in the ANZ Premiership and it's exciting to do that with the newest one in the league," she said.

"I enjoyed watching New Zealand's best players go head-to-head each week and now it's my challenge to get the best out of the Northern Stars on a regular basis."

Wills will not start her role with the Northern Stars until December 1 and she will continue preparations with New Zealand's Fast5 Ferns for the World Netball Series where they will aim to defend their title in Melbourne in October.

As a player she represented the New Zealand under-21 side, played for Auckland and was also captain of the Diamonds before ending her career on court with the Waikato-BOP Magic.

The confirmation of Wills as coach will help the Stars in their recruitment campaign. The Auckland side, which was established just a year ago, have lost two key defenders in Leana de Bruin, who will play out her final season in Adelaide next year, and Sulu Fitzpatrick, who is making the shift south to the Pulse.

Given Wills has a strong relationship with the under-21 players, her involvement with the Stars programme will ensure they hold onto their brightest young players.