After announcing themselves to the netball world last month, the Stars Men are ready to step things up a notch with revenge on their minds when they host the Mystics Men at Pulman Arena on Sunday afternoon.
The two teams played in the first ever televised men’s domestic netball match in April, with the Mystics securing a 54-49 victory.
Stars Men’s coach Sarah Michelle Hansen-Vaeau says while the first game was more about showcasing the men’s game to the world – the needle has shifted knowing they get another crack at the Mystics.
“The approach has changed from it being historic and representing men’s netball to doing those two things but winning as well. Now it’s about pride because it’s one to them and none to us.” Hansen-Vaeau said.
“it’s been really cool as it’s the first time for some of the players that they’ve had a full hour game to look at themselves playing and find areas of improvement because we don’t have that luxury in our sport, so I can’t wait to see what they put out there on Sunday.”
Stars shooter Maru Delamere led the team during their debut outing and says the first game came and went so quickly that they’re excited to get back out on court in quick succession.
“I think for us we didn’t realise how much of a spectacle it was going to be and how much of a moment it was going to be. We’re so excited to have another crack at it and at home is even better as we know South Auckland has so many enthusiastic people so we’re hoping to see them on Sunday.” Delamere said.
When asked to describe the team’s style of play, Delamere takes time to choose his words and then delivers this.
“Rustic is probably a good way to describe our style. A lot of us have a lot of flair and it’s all based on feeling and internal alignment and it’s not necessarily something that’s structured and will go the same way all the time and that’s why we’re so connected off the court. It’s almost those lines you can’t see and not having to physically view your teammate, but knowing they’re going to be there.” Delamere explains.
Delamere admits they probably aren’t as structured as his coach might like at times, but one thing that’s for certain is the men bring a style to the game of netball that’s rarely seen and Delamere hopes more people get a chance to be wowed by their play on Sunday.
“I think it’s a different style of netball to what they see every week. People can see their child, husband or brother playing the sport and possibly see them playing on TV one day. We want to promote the sport so it becomes so big and we see these games being played week in and week out, that’s the goal.”
For the Stars Men one of the most fulfilling aspects will be the opportunity to play at home in front of a sea of purple at Pulman Arena for the first time.
“I don’t even have words for how special it is, especially being south side hard myself. I was really bummed that we couldn’t play the first match in front of a crowd, but how cool to be playing in front of Stars whanau at Pulman Arena.” Hansen-Vaeau beams.
STARS MENS INVITATIONAL TEAM
Marutawhao DELAMERE (c)
Sarah Michelle HANSEN-VAEAU
COACH: Sarah Michelle Hansen- Vaeau
ASSISTANT COACH: Ritua Aliivaa
Manager: Christine Dyke
Manager: Lisa Ransom
Physio: Kirsty Lakay
The men’s game on Sunday is a curtain-raiser to their female counterparts who will contest the final match of the Northern Challenge series and chase valuable ANZ Premiership points.