Schoolgirl already has place in Mystics lined up

The curtain has fallen on one of the finest schools netball careers of recent times but her encore is set to be an even bigger hit.

Mt Albert Grammar's head girl and premier netball captain Holly Fowler will next month move from the school ranks to the ANZ Championship with the Mystics.

The 18-year-old defender does so as one of the most decorated players in schools netball, having been named in myriad tournament teams, captaining MAGS for the last two years and through a period of extraordinary success under the astute coaching of the departing Te Aroha Keenan.

Fowler, the glue of the MAGS premier team which she has graced since Year 9, bows out a winner after MAGS won their fourth national schools title earlier this month, a fitting sendoff for her, Keenan and several other seniors including dominant shooter Maia Wilson.


Fowler reflected on what has made MAGS' netball culture work so well.

"The coaches have a big influence, but the seniors like to think of ourselves as a little family," she said. "You'll do anything for your family. We are so close and hang out outside of netball. That creates a strong connection on and off the court."

Fowler has made the New Zealand schools team for four years, the last two as skipper. Her height in the defensive circle, mainly as a goal defence, and her anticipation and competitive streak, make her a thorn in the side of most opposing shooters.

As head girl at MAGS, she has had a heap on her plate in 2015, so she has needed to be organised around her training, not to mention club play with the MAGS old girls team, national U21 and 23 commitments, and her studies.

"This year has been really challenging, but I wouldn't have it any other way. I've got a massive diary. But Mr Burden [MAGS principal Dale Burden] and all the teachers are great. If it wasn't for them, I wouldn't be able to juggle everything."

Next year Fowler will be studying commerce part-time at the University of Auckland while she gets her head around life with the Mystics. As soon as her last school exam is done, she'll be straight into full training with the franchise, but she has no expectations of game time in 2016, especially with defender Anna Harrison returning to the ranks and 2014 NZ Schools teammate Michaela Sokolich-Beatson another option.

"I'm not expecting to be in the starting line-up. What I'm most excited about is learning from Anna and some of those experienced players."

Fowler may even find herself marking Wilson when the Mystics meet the Pulse. That will be different, as the two have been fixtures at either end of the floor for MAGS since 2011.


The Silver Ferns are also in Fowler's sights ... one day.

A highlight of her time at MAGS?

"This last nationals. With all the Year 13s on court in our last year, we gave it everything and there was a lot of relief [after the final] because it was one of our hardest games. And we had more to play for with Ms Keenan leaving."