Kayla Johnson returns to the Stars

The former Silver Ferns defender Kayla Johnson will return to the Stars for next year’s ANZ netball Premiership.

Johnson is returning to New Zealand after two years in Australia with her rugby league playing husband Shaun Johnson.

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Kayla Cullen of the Stars in action
Photo: © Photosport Ltd 2017 www.photosport.nz

Johnson (née Cullen) gave birth to their first child last year.

Defender Holly Fowler also returns to the Stars after two campaigns with the Waikato/Bay of Plenty Magic.

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The Stars have retained eight of last season’s contracted 10 players, which includes captain Maia Wilson, shooter Jamie Hume and midcourters Mila Reuelu-Buchanan and Lisa Mather.

Defenders Anna Harrison and Elle Temu, midcourter Gina Crampton and shooter Amorangi Malesala also return to the franchise after successful first seasons with the Stars.

Shooter Monica Falkner has moved across town to the Northern Mystics, while defender Oceane Maihi has gone to the Magic.

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After leading for the first part of the 2021 competition, the Stars faded and failed to make the play-offs.

Stars head coach Kiri Wills can’t wait to see what both Johnson and Fowler can add to their roster.

“She’s (Johnson) one of those players where you’ll be standing on the side of the court at training and she’ll do something and you’ll go how did she do that?” Wills said.

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“She’s physically and skill-wise one of the most capable players i’ve ever coached and can do things nobody else can do – she’s a freak.”

“Holly works really hard and can play a tight man-on style and make her opponent’s life sheer misery. She adds speed around the front if playing goal defence and a nice point of difference in terms of the goal defence and wing defence position and is solid on attack too.” Wills explained.

Both Johnson and Fowler’s last game for the Stars was during the 2019 final against the Pulse and Wills has made sure to keep communication lines open since and followed their respective journeys closely.

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Stars 2022 ANZ Premiership squad.

Defenders:

Anna Harrison

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Elle Temu

Holy Fowler

Kayla Johnson

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Midcourters:

Gina Crampton

Lisa Mather

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Mila Reuelu-Buchanan

Shooters:

Amorangi Malesala

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Jamie Hume

Maia Wilson

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