- Publish Date
- Thursday, 27 August 2015, 1:19PM
Kayla Cullen, one of the stars of the Silver Ferns' World Cup campaign this month, has re-signed with the Northern Mystics for 2016.
The confirmation of Cullen, who exercised a second-year option on her contract, brings the Mystics signings to 10 in what is shaping up to be a very defensive heavy line-up.
The Mystics are expected to name the final two spots on their roster - a shooter and a midcourter - tomorrow. All 10 franchises must submit their teams to the ANZ Championship office by close of play tomorrow.
With defenders Anna Harrison, Sulu Tone-Fitzpatrick, Temalisi Fakahokotau, Holly Fowler and Michaela Sokolich-Beatson already on the Mystics books, Cullen will feature in the midcourt next year. After playing goal defence for the Mystics this year, the versatile star established her place as the Ferns' starting wing defence during the World Cup and could move even further up the court in 2016.
"Kayla has shown huge growth since she came into our side as a schoolgirl five years ago," said Mystics coach Debbie Fuller. "Next season she'll be moving into the mid-court, where her vision on attack and her presence while on the run on defence are key strengths."
Fuller described Cullen's performances at the World Cup as "daring, tough and brave". The 23-year-old had shown similar qualities earlier, when coming back from two ACL knee reconstructions.
Cullen joins a mid-court headed by England international Serena Guthrie (25) and Nadia Loveday (21), while defensive duties will be in the hands of the likes of Harrison (32), Sulu Tone-Fitzpatrick (23) and Fakahokotau (20), who have all played for their country.
Fuller acknowledges that a challenge now for Cullen, like the rest of her squad, is delivering "elite consistency" throughout the ANZ Championship. At the World Cup, Cullen was under pressure from the start of the tournament and responded.
"I knew I had to nail my performance from game one or I would have most probably been riding the bench", she said. "Like any player, I can't stand the bench!"
She said the tournament gave her confidence and she's added some skills when it comes to delivering game after game.
Source- NZ Herald