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Amber, a year 5 pupil at Big Rock Primary School, won the chance to meet captains Shannon Saunders (Steel) and Sam Winders (Magic) and lead the teams on to the court as a part of the ANZ Future Captains programme.
Best friend and fellow Big Rock Primary pupil Grace Oldham (9) accompanied her.
Amber felt “a little nervous” at the prospect of meeting her heroes but said, “it was definitely worth it’’.
‘‘My favourite part was high fiving the Southern Steel — some of the players had really strong high fives.”
Amber had a VIP seat next to the Steel coaches and team, seeing them up close as they secured an epic win.
“It felt really good when the Steel won, my friend and I got quite excited, cheering, and jumping around,” Amber said.
The close game, which was won 59-58 when the Steel slotted the final goal just before the buzzer had Amber ‘‘clinging to the edge of my seat’’.
Amber loved watching the teams play, especially seeing her favourite players Shannon Saunders and fellow shooter George Fisher shine.
“George was getting really good shots and one of the people on the other team accidentally knocked her over but she got straight back up.
‘‘I really admire her for that. I’m going to try to bring a bit of George’s fighting spirit to my own games,” she said.
ANZ head of sponsorship Sue McGregor said ANZ was committed to its support of netballers in Aotearoa, from local Dunedin players right up to the elite athletes in the ANZ Premiership and the Silver Ferns.
“That’s why we’re giving 94 young people from all over Aotearoa the chance to be part of the ANZ Premiership and to meet their netball heroes as an ANZ Future Captain.’’
Applications for the ANZ Future Captains programme are now open at anzcourtside.co.nz