The Robinhood Stars are beginning to reap the rewards of continuity and chemistry as they continue their push towards the ANZ Premiership finals. 

The Stars have won five of their last six games and sit in third spot on the competition ladder, with three regular season games remaining. 

Midcourter Gina Crampton has played a key part in the Stars’ success and is in her second season in the purple dress, having moved north from the Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel last campaign. 

The Stars have the luxury of keeping the same attacking combinations as last year, with Kayla Johnson and Holly Fowlers the only new faces in the squad. 

Crampton says maintaining the core group has been crucial for their strong on-court showings. 

 “You can’t underestimate how important connections are in a team sport and while we’ve always had a good connection off the court – we’re really starting to have those invisible threads in our attacking end especially and our defensive end has been firing all year, but finally the attacking end is coming to the party as well. That’s really exciting to be a part of, especially as I get to the end of my playing time, it’s nice to part of a group like that.” Crampton said. 

The run of good results has made for a happy team environment and despite a disruptive season, Crampton feels they’re playing more of the style of netball they want to, although it’s still not as common as they might like. 

“I think confidence definitely grows when you perform well and you’re more likely to let the ball go and that’s what the Stars are really good at as a team. I’m excited that we’re at that point and it’s a nice time of the season to be hitting our straps and hopefully it continues. We still haven’t found that 60 minute performance. Even against the Mystics, it was quite a convincing win, but the last quarter was actually quite disappointing.” Crampton explains. 

With three games up their sleeves, the Stars are still in the mix for top spot on the ladder if they can maintain a winning run. 

With leaders the MG Mystics experiencing a slump and the Pulse and Stars nipping at their heels, it remains a lottery as to how the top three will look come season’s end. 

The Stars’ next opponents the Steel are still in the mix too if results go their way. Crampton says it’s such an interesting season and has rarely been this tight up the top recently. 

I think it’s really exciting that we have an opportunity to finish first and we want to go for it, but also realise there’s other teams that are in the same position and could end up there as well. I think for us the main thing is we want to make sure is that we finish the season strong with our regular season games and wherever we end up it can put is in a good position heading into the finals series.” Crampton said. 

The Stars travel to Invercargill to take on Crampton’s long-time team and she knows they’re going to have to be at their absolute best to mute a hostile crowd and earn an important victory in the context of their campaign. 

“The Steel are a hard team to play and they look after possession really well and they’re backed up by their home crowd as well. It’s going to be a big game and I’m hoping we’re ready for it and can put out a good performance even when we’re not at home because that’s going to be crucial going forward.” 

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