The Northern Stars netball franchise has announced that netball legend Temepara Bailey will step out of retirement and into a player-assistant coach role for the 2019 ANZ Premiership season.
The Stars lost a huge amount of experience in the midcourt and attacking end, following the recent withdrawal of captain Grace Kara due to pregnancy.
Team management looked at younger players associated with the Stars, but due to significant injuries to Tori Kolose and Chrissy Oscar, head coach Kiri Wills decided that Bailey is the best person for the role at this point in time.
"The decision was a relatively easy one from my point of view. We have a number of young driven players in our team and for us to win, we need to have on court leadership and experience, there is no doubt Temepara will bring these qualities," says Wills.
“One of Temepara's great strengths is her capacity to direct players on court and drive on court team strategy, whilst still doing her job to a very high standard. She and Leana (de Bruin) are the players we are looking to lead the on-court performance of our team. They both know how and what it takes to win, and you will see the young players in our squad flourish under their leadership.”
Wills added, “we have some great young talent in our team and the wider squad and we will be looking to push those players hard to get them ready for the ANZ Premiership. When they are ready to contribute to a winning performance they will certainly get opportunities."
Bailey will also continue in her role as assistant coach for the third year running with the franchise. Wills and Bailey have carefully worked through the logistics of how the roles will operate.
Bailey who is still in great physical shape, is often used as an extra training partner with the Stars and is very excited to play in front of her home crowd again.
"South Auckland is home for me and I’m looking forward to preseason with the team and getting out on court in the purple colours of the Stars next year," says Bailey.
Northern Stars General Manager, Dianne Lasenby knows the community will embrace the return of Bailey to the court.
“The local netball community will love it as she is one of theirs. If you’ve been to a Stars home game, you will see the fans wanting autographs and photos with Bailey. She is often one of the last people back into the changing room because they just adore her,” says Lasenby.
The Northern Stars first match of the 2019 ANZ Premiership season will be against the Southern Steel on Sunday February 24th in Hamilton.
Northern Stars 2019 ANZ Premiership Team
Temepara Bailey, Kate Burley, Kayla Cullen, Leana de Bruin, Holly Fowler, Ellen Halpenny, Charlee Hodges, Storm Purvis, Mila Ruelu-Buchanan, Maia Wilson.
Training Partners : Tori Kolose, Oceane Maihi and Tamara Leoni
Head Coach: Kiri Wills.
Assistant Coach: Temepara Bailey
Team Manger: Dee Leggat