Two keen young Nelson netballers appeared in front of their biggest crowd ever on Sunday when they took to the court at Saxton Stadium flying the flags of the Mainland Tactix and Central Pulse.
Eleven-year-olds Sofia Sampson and Dani McLellan won the opportunity through the ANZ Future Captains competition to meet Tactix captain Anna Thompson and Pulse captain Katrina Grant before joining the two teams on court for the opening of the game.
Sofia, who attends Waimea Intermediate School, says her favourite part of the night was carrying the Tactix flag out on to the court.
"It was really cool when the goal shoot Mwai Kumwenda put her arm around me and said ‘hi'. I felt really nervous, but also really, really excited."
Sofia has been playing netball for four years and says she loves playing centre.
"You get to move around all the court, and get lots of space to run." Dani, who attends Collingwood Area School, says she was happy to be able to stand next to Irene van Dyk.
"She's tall, I felt like I was looking up a lot," Dani said,
"She asked if I was nervous and when I said I was she said ‘we all are'."
Dani has been playing netball for about four years and wants to play with the Tactix one day.
"It would be so cool."
ANZ Head of Sponsorship Susan McGregor says many young netball fans aspire to play in the elite trans-Tasman tournament and being a Future Captain gives them a taste of what it is like to be in the spotlight.
"We're giving 66 children from across New Zealand the chance to be a Future Captain at an ANZ Championship game this season," Susan says.
"Winners get the opportunity to rub shoulders with the world's top netball players, which is a once-in-a-lifetime experience."
The Pulse beat the Tactix 58-50.
- The Nelson Mail