There was great excitement in the Northern Stars netball team last week, as Captain Grace Kara announced that she is expecting her first baby in April.

After playing and captaining the Northern Stars this year, Grace had been looking forward to the challenge of leading the South Auckland based team in the ANZ Premiership starting in February however she will now not take part in the 2019 ANZ Premiership Season.

The Northern Stars is entering their third season and after a 2018 campaign which saw the team go from strength to strength, Kara was excited about the prospect of being part of the close-knit team with the addition of some new key players.

Northern Stars Coach Kiri Wills, commented “We are thrilled for Grace and Mark and look forward to welcoming baby Kara into the Stars Whanau. The leadership and experience that Grace has provided will be a big loss for the team but I have confidence in the up and coming athletes in the team who are hungry for opportunities at this level”. 

Born and raised in Auckland Grace’s professional netball career spans over 14 years starting with playing for the New Zealand U21s in 2004 and she has played 63 test caps with the Silver Ferns from 2010 – 2018.

Kara said “ Mark and I are so excited and extremely blessed to venture into this new chapter of our lives. There’s no feeling quite like it, knowing you are about to bring something so precious into this world. Netball has been a huge part of my life but starting our own little family definitely puts it all into perspective. I’m hoping to remain a part of the team as much as possible in whatever capacity I‘m needed. 

The franchise has built a strong base over the course of 2018 and Northern Stars General Manager, Dianne Lasenby says a replacement player will be confirmed as soon as possible.