A Silver Ferns exodus from the Northern Mystics is set to be confirmed on Wednesday when Paula Griffin and Leana de Bruin are expected to join fellow netball international Sheryl Scanlan in departing the franchise.
Griffin is due to be unveiled as the Central Pulse’s star signing in Wellington while de Bruin is expected to join fellow former South African Irene van Dyk at the Silver Ferns-laden Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic.
Griffin has been lured south by the prospect of more consistent game time, something she struggled to attain in Auckland where Catherine Latu and Jade Topia were often preferred in the shooting circle.
Yvonne Willering’s axing as coach just a season into a three-year deal is likely to have influenced de Bruin’s desire to look elsewhere given the former Silver Ferns coach has been instrumental in the development of the lanky defender since she relocated to New Zealand.
Griffin and de Bruin depart following defender Sheryl Scanlan’s decision to move to Invercargill and play for the Southern Steel in the second edition of the trans-Tasman league.
Player movements will be clarified tomorrow when the five New Zealand franchises have to name a provisional squad of 10. The final 12-player squads are to be confirmed on October 31.
However, the Mystics chief executive Mark Cameron accepts Griffin will not be playing in Auckland next season while it seems it will take a drastic change of heart for de Bruin to stay put.
“We’re anticipating she’ll probably play for the Magic, we continue to leave the door open unless she changes her mind,” he said of Griffin.
Cameron said the Mystics would probably only be able to name nine contracted players tomorrow — the remainder of the squad would be filled following a scouting mission at the national provincial championships, which end in Rotorua this weekend.
Up to six players were being assessed, with Cameron identifying an experienced shooter and defender to fill de Bruin’s void as the main priorities.
Latu, Topia and third shooting option Grace Rasmussen were still being groomed for the future so “realistically we’d like an experienced player to jump into that line-up,” Cameron told NZPA.
De Bruin’s absence is likely to be more keenly felt although the Mystics are able to call on experienced provincial representative Stephanie Bond and former Silver Fern Vilimaina Davu.
Rachel Rasmussen and Otago’s Debbie White, essentially a straight swap for Scanlan, are the other defensive options.
Griffin’s imminent move to the reigning wooden spooners will be welcomed in the capital considering English defender Sonia Mkoloma will not return while captain Frances Solia has also been lured to Hamilton and goalkeep Kahurangi Waititi is said to be moving to the Canterbury Tactix.
Despite contemplating the loss of a trio of Silver Ferns, Northern Mystics coach Te Aroha Keenan, named last week as Willering’s replacement, thinks her side will still be competitive with the likes of Temepara George running the midcourt.
“I think if we can get a few things sorted and plan really well, I’m really excited about what this team can achieve,” she said.