2022 ANZ Premiership review: Northern Stars
FINISHING one win short of the 2022 ANZ Premiership title, the Northern Stars can still look back fondly on the season, knowing they did all they could to try and grab the trophy. The Stars won more games than any other side, picking up 11 regular season wins and only dropping four, while winning their way through to the decider with an important victory over northern rivals, the Mystics. Though they fell short of Central Pulse on the big stage, they will be pleased with what they accomplished.
Goals For: 836 (3rd)
Goals Against: 783 (2nd)
Goal Difference: 53 (2nd)
WHAT WENT RIGHT?
Northern Stars won their last four games to finish the season with a head of steam to grab second spot on the ladder. They had a hard-fought win over Northern Mystics in the elimination final which gave them confidence heading into the final. The midcourt combination of Gina Crampton (728 feeds) and Mila Reuelu-Buchanan (600) ranked first and second in the statistic, which allowed the likes of Maia Wilson and Jamie Hume to have plenty of chances on goal. Wilson produced 574 goals to ranked third overall in the league, while Hume rounded out the top 10 with 250.
In defence, Elle Temu and Anna Harrison teamed up to provide a formidable combination, with both players ranked inside the top five for both deflections and intercepts. Temu had 78 deflections and 42 intercepts to be ranked second in both categories, while Harrison managed the 65 and 24 to be equal fourth and equal third in the same measures respectively. With Silver Fern Kayla Johnson returning to the court, the Stars had a strong starting seven – with Holly Fowler helping share the load in wing defence – and it is easy to see why they made it to the pointy end of the season.
Ultimately only picking up the one bonus point throughout the season hurt, as it meant they went level with Central Pulse on 34 points despite having an extra win than the minor premiers. That saw the Pulse have the extra break on grand final weekend, and they triumphed at home to take out the overall trophy. Both offensively and defensively, the Stars were solid, though the accuracy at times from Wilson and Hume could be costly. When they were on though, they were a well-balanced duo, of whom both could put up high-volume scores. Finally, the slow start in the grand final is what ultimately cost the Stars, with less days rest, and only putting up six goals in the first term to hand Pulse a nine-goal advantage at quarter time.
Northern Stars fell one win short of the ANZ Premiership title, but were able to make it there off the back of some consistent netball all season. With another strong side set for 2023, expect the team to be a real contender to go one better, with very minimal holes in the lineup.