The Robinhood Stars have signed a familiar face to bolster their defensive stocks for the 2024 ANZ Premiership season.
Defender Kate Burley joins the Stars after a two-season stint in the deep south with the Ascot Park Hotel Southern Steel.
Burley played for the Stars in the first two years of the club’s establishment in 2017 and 2018 as a training partner, before earning a full-time contract in 2019 and 2020.
Burley then played for the MG Mystics in 2021.
Burley believes her time with the Steel was important for her personal and professional growth.
“I am excited to come back home as both a different person and player. But I think it was the right time for me so I could be around my partner and whanau and friends, just that life outside of netball balance and saw it as a great opportunity to come back and what better place to do it than the club I started with.” Burley said.
Burley is at home in either the goal keep or goal defence bib and has been a consistent performer throughout her career, possessing quick closing speed and an ability to compete strongly in the air and create turnover opportunities.
She’s looking forward to linking back up with coach Kiri Wills.
“I’m excited to work with Kiri again, because I know I’m ready to work and do what she needs me to so I can be out on court.” Burley explained.
“I haven’t learnt from Paula Smith before so that’s going to be exciting and I know Anna Harrison is involved in the periphery as well so that’s amazing. I can’t wait to pick her brain and see what she thinks I can improve on.”
Wills has seen a massive amount of growth in Burley’s game since she last wore the Stars dress and hopes to utilise her impressive skill-set.
“I thought Kate had a very good season. She continued to work hard and look at different ways to get ball off the opposition regardless of the scoreboard and that showed a lot of resilience and character. I’m looking forward to her bringing some of that grit with her and she’s always been dynamic, fast and has a great jump.” Wills said.
With the departure of Elle Temu, Wills will be looking for Burley to be a leader at the defensive end.
“I think she’s at the stage of her career where she can really contribute in that leadership space. It’s time for Kate to step up and take ownership, especially heading into the next World Cup cycle.”
Burley was member of the 2022-23 Silver Ferns Development squad and also part of the 2022 FAST5 Ferns bronze medal-winning team at the FAST5 Netball World Series.
Burley can’t wait to be back amongst the infectious environment created by the Stars whānau.
“I think the Stars are known for the whanau environment in general, the fans get behind them and I know our families are a big part of that environment too. I still see those familiar faces when I go back to play at Pulman Arena and have some really good friends at the team too, so it’ll be cool to be back with them.”