Danielle’s moment with the Mystics

Future Captain Danielle de Villiers (left) and Megan Joubert with Sulu Fitzpatrick (C) and Maia Wilson (C) at the Mystics vs Stars ANZ Premiership game. Mandatory Photo Credit Copyright photo: Greg Bowker/Michael Bradley Photography

Mellons Bay netballer, 10-year-old Danielle de Villiers, got a taste of the action when she met the superstars of netball on centre court at The Trusts Arena before the Mystics vs Stars ANZ Premiership game.

Danielle, a Pigeon Mountain Primary School student, won the chance to meet captains Sulu Fitzpatrick (Mystics) and Maia Wilson (Stars) and lead the teams onto the court as a part of the ANZ Future Captains programme. Best friend Megan Joubert was able to accompany her.

Danielle says she had a great time at the game and especially loved meeting the captains, making sure she told them both good luck at the coin toss. She said, “Sulu Fitzpatrick is just a really good player. Maia Wilson is such a good example to me as an attack player, she’s an awesome shooter.”

After watching the Mystics whip up and down the court from her courtside seat, Danielle was pleased to see them take the win. She celebrated loudly and was impressed by them taking the lead from the start. “The Mystics have really cool moves, the ball was moving so fast.”

When Danielle’s teammates found out she was going to be a Future Captain at the game, they all jumped at the chance to go to the game and cheer her on. Danielle says it was a feel-good moment and that having people in the crowd cheer her on made her feel like one of the players.

Seeing the Mystics play has inspired Danielle in her own netball games, “I want to be a better defender like Sulu. She’s so tall and she jumps really high.”

ANZ Head of Sponsorship Sue McGregor says ANZ is committed to its support of netballers in Aotearoa from local Millions Bay 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.

“After such a tough year for the netball community in 2020, it’s great we can offer this once in a lifetime opportunity to our country’s youngest netball fans and players.

“We hope this experience inspires them to remain passionate about their training and to try their very best on the court.”