Rotorua's Erena Mikaere is coming home.
The Waikato/Bay of Plenty Magic have named their squad for 2020 and homegrown defender Mikaere is among the new recruits.
Head coach Amigene Metcalfe has confirmed her squad for next year's ANZ Premiership which, along with Mikaere, includes newcomers Whitney Souness, Holly Fowler, and Georgia Tong.
Midcourt general Sam Sinclair, also of Rotorua, will suit up for her seventh season in the Magic strip alongside Monica Falkner, Ariana Cable-Dixon, Jenna O'Sullivan, Abigail Latu-Meafou and shooter Kelsey McPhee, who had a standout rookie season.
Tong has been elevated to the ANZ Premiership side as reward for her performances in the Beko Netball League where she helped the Waikato team reach its second straight grand final.
But it is the inclusion of midcourter Souness (Central Pulse) along with defenders Fowler (Northern Stars) and Mikaere (Northern Mystics) which brings a new dynamic to the Magic side.
Metcalfe said it was exciting to welcome Mikaere back into the Magic fold after she played for the club when it won the former trans-Tasman competition in 2012.
The 1.92m defender, who was born in Rotorua and is returning to be close to family, was also part of the Sunshine Coast Lightning team which won back-to-back Suncorp Super Netball titles in Australia.
"Erena obviously brings height into that defensive circle but she also brings that experience of having been a part of a winning culture with the Magic and Lightning," Metcalfe said.
"Both Whitney and Holly add something exciting to the midcourt and defence and also bring that winning mindset having played in this year's ANZ Premiership final."
Mikaere was looking forward to the opportunity to move home and be closer to family.
"I am really excited to come back home, where it all started and wear the Magic dress. I have fond memories of Magic, both as a player where I was part of the 2012 squad that won the ANZ Championship and growing up watching the likes of Amigene play," Mikaere said.
"My family, friends and loyal supporters are tuturu Magic supporters so I think they'll be as excited as I am to return to Magic after playing for rival clubs."
Fowler is looking to build on her career after several seasons with the Northern Stars.
"I hope to build my skills off the players and coaching staff at the Magic in 2020 while bringing my own flair from what I've learnt in previous teams. I can't wait to give it my all and go all the way with the Magic," Fowler said.
Souness, who was part of the ANZ Premiership-winning Central Pulse side, said she felt the time was right to challenge herself in a new environment.
"I'm really looking forward to my time with the Magic and continuing to grow as a netballer.
"I'm ready to embrace some new challenges in my life both on and off court and I'm excited about the team dynamic that the Magic has."
Metcalfe said it was also great to again see the focus on homegrown talent following the success of McPhee in her first ANZ Premiership season.
"Kelsey had a debut season that just went from strength to strength and we look forward to seeing how she can back that up next year.
"Georgia is another who has progressed through the ranks and consistently proved herself at the Beko level. It's exciting to see what she can achieve in the ANZ Premiership."
2020 Waikato/BOP Magic Squad:
Sam Sinclair, Monica Falkner, Kelsey McPhee, Ariana Cable-Dixon, Erena Mikaere, Whitney Souness, Holly Fowler, Abigail Latu-Meafou, Jenna O'Sullivan, Georgia Tong.
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