ANZ Premiership 2021: Northern Stars tipped as early season title favourites

The Northern Stars are shaping as early ANZ Premiership title contenders after winning three from four games in last weekend's pre-season tournament. 

After a disappointing 2020 where they finished fourth, the Stars have revamped their squad with just four players returning from that campaign. 

The Auckland based side has recruited well over the off-season and managed to snatch Silver Fern Gina Crampton from the deep south.

They also have one of the best shooters in the world in Maia Wilson as captain, which is why so many are picking them as this year's title favourites. 

The Stars have come close to a title before with a runner-up finish in 2019 their best result, but there's an air of optimism that 2021 could be different.

"Every year I've been quietly confident that my team can pull it together and do the job," Northern Stars coach Kiri Wills says.

"This year I'm really excited as we have quite a lot of experience right throughout the court."  

Heading that list of experience is new captain Wilson who is a foundation player at the Stars and one of the Silver Ferns best in their Constellation Cup win in March. 

"It proved to myself that I can play against the Aussies," Wilson says.

"So to bring that into the Northern Stars environment and bring that out on court here, I think I'm in a really good space."

The sharp-shooter won't be alone in bringing international experience to the Stars, after seven seasons with the Southern Steel, Ferns midcourter Gina Crampton has relocated north. 

"Ultimately I think it was the best thing for my netball," Crampton says.

"I get a bit of different coaching, play with other players and a different style, that sort of thing."

And Wilson believes Crampton could be the missing piece of the puzzle as they hunt to break their title drought.  

"She'll bring that flare," Wilson says.

"She'll bring that solid head on her shoulders and can really fling that ball into the air which is what I like."  

The duo hopes to push each other and the rest of the team hard to make the Stars truly shine in their hunt for silverware. 

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