The long-distance romance and Tasman-jumping is over — netball star Kayla Cullen has made the permanent move to join her league-playing fiance Shaun Johnson in Sydney.
Cullen made several visits to help him settle into his new club Cronulla and, last week, Johnson came home to Auckland to see Cullen in her ANZ Championship final for the Northern Stars against Central Pulse.
He donned a purple Northern Stars' team dress and joined the "purple army" to cheer Cullent along from the stands. Sadly, for Cullen, it wasn't a dream end to the season and her time with the Northern Stars — the Pulse won.
"Didn't get the chocolates but so proud of this one and her team. Aus here we come," Johnson wrote on Instagram after the game, alongside a selfie of himself and Cullen.
Over the past few months Cullen has hinted at her permanent move to join Johnson. Last Saturday night, the 27-year-old finally bid adieu.
"Strutting into check-in, acting like I don't have five overweight suitcases, it was lucky for me the Air NZ staff on today were so incredibly nice and couldn't have been happier to help move me and my kitchen sink across the Ditch. Going to miss my family and friends and leaving everything I've ever known, but I can't wait to see where this new adventure takes us. Bye for now NZ. Getting my five suitcases out the other side by myself is gonna be interesting," she wrote on Instagram.
In her new home, Cullen has kept up her fitness and healthy lifestyle, attending her first class at F45 gym in Cronulla and making ample smoothies and a vegetarian dinner for herself and Johnson. She returned the favour and donned his Cronulla uniform in his first game back for the club in six weeks due to injury.
Speculation is rife that she will follow in Johnson's footsteps and sign with an Aussie club to continue her sterling netball career. It has been reported she is keen to regain a spot in the Silver Ferns, despite not making next month's World Cup squad heading for Liverpool.
If Cullen does play in Australia, she can look to Laura Langman (Sunshine Coast Lightning) and Maria Folau (Adelaide Thunderbirds) who have been granted exceptions to play abroad and still wear the black dress.
Cullen might have moved to Sydney to be with Johnson, but she's popping back shortly — at the end of this month she will return home to join an All Stars team to play the Ferns before they depart.