Mary-Jane Araroa is ready to restore the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic to their former glory in 2022.
After a disappointing ANZ Premiership season when the Magic only managed one win from 15 games, Araroa will be taking over from Amigene Metcalfe as head coach.
Assistant coach to Metcalfe for two seasons, Araroa is no stranger to the role of head coach, holding the title at various teams, including the New Zealand Secondary Schools team.
The Bay of Plenty local is already bursting with ideas and is eager to bring the Magic back to the top.
"I align it to the phoenix rising from the ashes and that's certainly something that I would like to see from our Magic team - to rise to the occasion again. It is around restoring that legacy and demonstrating that we are and we will continue to be one of the top franchises to contend with," said Araroa.
When asked about her vision for the Magic, Araroa wanted to "inspire superior athletes" who fit in the team's environment.
With Silver Ferns selection looming, Araroa is deep into contracting players for the 2022 season and has some bold requirements for players wanting to wear the Magic dress.
"We are looking for players who are able to meet some of the Silver Fern fitness standards, I've been quite clear about wanting those types of athletes with us."
While it was difficult to tell exactly where the Magic went wrong this year, many players struggled with injuries and therefore weren't at full fitness and they never established a solid starting seven.
There may be some surprises when the Magic team news starts becoming public, but Araroa's firm stance will only yield positive results.
A new season brings new beginnings but a part of the Magic's 2021 season that Araroa wouldn't change was the support from the fans.
"The fans to date have been outstanding, and I just can't believe how much love and support that they have given us, through this season in particular ... the high expectations that they have of us.
"I want to take that challenge and I want to meet it and I want to give it back to our fan base, to our members to say 'we are back'," Araroa said.
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