The Robinhood Stars will head into the next ANZ Premiership season with the comfort of knowing they'll be able to again build on strong connections with eight players returning to don the purple dress again in 2023.
The Stars have retained eight of last season's contracted 10 players, which includes captain Maia Wilson and fellow shooters Jamie Hume and Amorangi Malesala and midcourters Mila Reuelu-Buchanan, Holly Fowler and Gina Crampton At the defensive end, Kayla Johnson and Elle Temu also return.
The retirement of veteran defender Anna Harrison has opened the door for imposing defender Kelera Nawai-Caucau to join the Stars from the Trident Homes Tactix. Nawai-Caucau played 13 games this season, having represented the Te Wānanga o Raukawa Pulse in 2021.
Stars coach Kiri WIlls is looking forward to working with Nawai-Caucau.
"I have been impressed with the impact she has made on the ANZ Premiership. She’s got great size and strength and gives us options to change our strategy depending on the opposition once again in the back end of the court.” Wills said.
Innovative and experienced midcourter Samon Nathan also joins the Stars from the Tactix, having spent the last four seasons in the Garden City. Nathan will bring versatility and pace to the midcourt and can play in all three positions.
"Both Paula Smith and I have worked with Samon before, she is a smart player with great hands for clever feeds. The thing we love about Samon is when the going gets tough Samon thrives." Wills explained.
“I’m excited about building on our strongest season to date. Samon and Kelera both bring height to their respective areas of the court and uncompromising attitudes.
Nathan replaces Lisa Mather, who's taken up an opportunity in England, while training partner Greer Sinclair's been rewarded for a fantastic two seasons in the purple dress with a full-time contract with the Tactix for next year.
Stars general manager Dianne Lasenby is pleased to have so many players staying with the franchise.
"This season we also had eight players return and it gave us a big head start compared to previous campaigns, so I'm excited to see what next year's group can achieve." Lasenby said.
Robinhood Stars 2023 ANZ Premiership squad.