Veteran defender Leana de Bruin has been named the inaugural captain of the Northern Stars.
De Bruin, who turns 40 later this season, will lead the Stars in the new elite netball league - the ANZ Premiership - which gets under way on March 26.
With Stars coach Julie Hoornweg assembling a line-up of mostly young, up and coming talent, de Bruin appeared the obvious choice for the skipper role. Hoornweg involved the players in making the decision.
"Although it may be expected, you don't know for sure how the other players feel" said de Bruin. "Obviously I'm not getting any younger and Julie may have wanted to look to the future, so it's a real privilege."
Senior midcourter Courtney Tairi will support de Bruin as vice captain.
The 104-test Silver Fern, who has now retired from international netball, is relishing the chance to lend her experience, tactical nous and professional attitude to the Stars, and is excited by the young talent in the team.
"It's great to see how they take on board what you tell them" de Bruin said, "I'm looking forward to seeing how they continue to grow."
De Bruin is eager to see how it all comes together on court when the Stars join the other five ANZ Premiership teams for the pre-season tournament at Te Wananga o Raukawa in Otaki.
"We haven't played together at all, so I have no idea what to expect, but every week we've become fitter, more agile and used to the way Julie trains. She's really open and honest, and there are no shortcuts", de Bruin said of Hoornweg's style. "It's a bit of old-school."
The pre-season tournament will be played on March 10-12.
Team: Leana de Bruin (captain), Kayla Cullen, Sulu Fitzpatrick, Holly Fowler, Fa'amu Ioane, Emma Iverson, Afa Rusivakula (FIJ), Courtney Tairi, Malia Vaka (nee Paseka), Maia Wilson.
Coach: Julie Hoornweg
Assistant coach: Temepara Bailey