A hundred up for Crampton

Northern Stars wing attack Gina Crampton feeds the ball into the circle during her 100th ANZ...
Northern Stars wing attack Gina Crampton feeds the ball into the circle during her 100th ANZ Premiership match on Sunday against the Mainland Tactix in Auckland.PHOTO: MICHAEL BRADLEY PHOTOS
It may have felt weird watching her do it in purple.

Even Gina Crampton herself admitted she had intended on bringing up 100 ANZ Premiership matches with the Southern Steel.

Gina Crampton during her debut match for the Southern Steel in 2012. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Gina Crampton during her debut match for the Southern Steel in 2012. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Perhaps we can put that one down to 2020.

The wing attack had been stranded on 98 matches when the final two games of last season were cancelled due to heightened Covid-19 alert levels.

So it was in a Northern Stars dress that Crampton (29) reached her century.

She achieved that on Sunday, as the team beat the Mainland Tactix in Auckland.

There was a tinge of regret at not doing it in blue, although it remained a special milestone that Crampton had not thought she would reach.

"Playing 100 for one club that I was with for so long would have been amazing," she said.

"So definitely disappointed.

"But now that I’m here with the Stars I’m still very thankful and excited to be bringing it up with a new team."

Since debuting in 2012, when she was called into the Steel as an injury replacement for Courtney Tairi, Crampton has put together an impressive career.

She became a regular Steel starter in 2015 and a year later was named the ANZ Championship player of the year — the last year of the transtasman league.

Back-to-back titles followed, which Crampton said remained the highlight of her 100 games, and ranked up there with winning the 2019 World Cup.

Now in her 10th year in the competition, Crampton is firmly among the league’s experienced stars.

However, that is a tag she still is not used to.

"It is quite weird, I still sort of think of myself as quite new.

"There’s a lot of people still playing in the ANZ Premiership that have been around for so long and the legends of the game.

"It’s weird to think of myself as one of the experienced ones, but also a cool spot to be in."

Crampton was enjoying her move to Auckland and the Stars.

The change had been good and she said it was nice to refresh after being in the same set-up for nearly a decade.

Wins over the Tactix and Central Pulse had been a good start to the season.

However, next weekend’s encounter with the Steel in Auckland loomed large.

"I’m just so glad it’s not in Invercargill to be honest.

"I feel like it would be so daunting to go down there to play the Steel.

"It’s going to be weird.

"We played them in preseason which was nice, so I got the first one against them out the way.

"It will definitely be pretty weird in a full ANZ Premiership game, hopefully they’re nice to me."

Going forward, she was unsure how much longer she had left.

While she had no immediate plans to retire, she was not optimistic of reaching the next milestone.

"There’s no way I’ll get to 150 I don’t think. It’s a hard question.

"I go back and forth with this all the time, whether it’s time to, not stop, but you’ve got to be thinking about what’s next.

"I want to try to make the Commonwealth Games team next year, then there’s World Cup the year after that.

"So there’s those sorts of things, but then I also need to be thinking about what’s after netball.

"Who knows? At least a couple of more years."

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