Michael Burgess is a sports writer for the Herald on Sunday.

Netball: Cullen leaving Mystics for crosstown rivals

Kayla Cullen has opted to leave the Mystics ahead of the upcoming national league season. Photo / photosport.nz
Kayla Cullen has opted to leave the Mystics ahead of the upcoming national league season. Photo / photosport.nz

Kayla Cullen has signed with the new Auckland netball franchise for the upcoming national league season.

The Silver Ferns defender, currently in camp with the national side for the Quad series, has decided to move across town after six years at the Northern Mystics.

There had been enquiries from some Australian teams, as well as interest from another New Zealand franchise, but Cullen was always unlikely to leave Auckland and her Warriors partner Shaun Johnson.

It's a significant coup for the yet to be named South Auckland based team, as Cullen is one of the most talented and versatile players in this country.

She has spent time in all three midcourt positions in the ANZ Championship, as well as her regular position of goal defence.

It's understood that a desire for positional stability was one of the factors behind the move, along with a chance to take a leadership role in a new franchise.

Cullen made her debut for the Mystics in the 2010 season, and was a key member of the team that reached the ANZ Championship Grand final the following year. She was named the Best Young player that season, and also selected in the All Star team.

The 24-year-old made her Ferns debut in 2011 and has since accumulated more than 30 test caps, despite suffering some serious injuries.

- NZ Herald

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