The Sting is back. Eight members of the champion 2007
Sting side, including star players Donna Wilkins and Adine
Wilson, will be lining up for the Southern Steel in the ANZ
Championship next year.
Wilson returns after skipping the inaugural transtasman
competition to give birth to her first child, Harper.
And Wilkins, who spent last season on the Steel's bench in
the assistant coaching role, will slap on a player's bib
The other notable change in the Steel squad, released
yesterday, was confirmation Silver Ferns defender Sheryl
Scanlan had transferred to the franchise from the Northern
Wilkins, who is expecting her first child in December,
replaces former Australian international Megan Dehn while
former Silver Fern Jessica Tuki makes way for Wilson.
Debbie White has switched with Scanlan and will join the
The experienced trio gives the Steel a formidable look and,
with the likes of Silver Ferns Katrina Grant and Daneka
Wipiiti re-signing, and veteran midcourter Jenny-May Coffin
returning, the Steel shapes as a top-four contender.
"Donna was with the Sting for 10 years and was an outstanding
player, and Adine was there for many years as well and she is
such an asset to any team," Steel coach Robyn Broughton said.
Broughton said the pair brought the sort of skills,
professionalism and commitment which would lift any team.
But their combination was something special, she said.
"I think it [their combination] is one of the best that you
could ever see. It is something that has been missed in New
For dual netball and basketball international Wilkins and
former Silver Ferns captain Wilson, the decision to return to
the court was not taken lightly.
"It was a big decision because it's not just about me,"
"I wouldn't be able to do it without the support of Mike [her
husband] and both our mothers - mind you, they didn't take
much convincing when it came to looking after their
grandchild. I've never retired from the sport and I'm looking
forward to getting out there and playing in this new
New mother Wilson was also torn.
"I didn't miss the netball but I missed the girls and Robyn,"
"Playing again was something I had to think long and hard
about because I am really enjoying being at home with
Promising shooter Julianna Naoupu completes a strong-looking
Busy midcourters Jenny-May Coffin, Liana Barrett-Chase and
Wendy Telfer will link up with Wilson and Scanlan will add
her considerable experience to a defence end which boasts
Grant, Erika Burgess and under-rated goal keep Megan Hutton.
Scanlan said a lifestyle change prompted the decision to head
south with husband Malcolm and 2-year-old son Jafeth.
"I'm really thrilled to be part of the Steel franchise," she
"The support I've had from the northern region has been
fantastic and has enabled me to reach the level I have in
netball. Now a new era awaits and I'm eager to see what that
brings - it's going to be great to be part of a community
environment which obviously really embraces netball."
Of the 12 players only Grant, Coffin, Scanlan and Naoupu were
not part of the side which won the final National Bank Cup.
Meanwhile, Steel chief executive Julie Paterson said the
franchise had received five applications for the assistant
Early favourite Natalie Avellino, the former Sting shooter,
told the Otago Daily Times yesterday she decided against
applying because of work commitments.