The history making Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic netball team touched down in Auckland this afternoon to a rapturous applause from excited fans.
A small group of Magic supporters welcomed the team who were "still buzzing" from last night's tense ANZ Netball Championship final which they won 41-38 over the Melbourne Vixens.
Captain Laura Langman said it was "surreal coming off such a rollercoaster game".
"At no stage did either team have control of the game until the final seconds and I think the low score showed just how tense and close the match was," Langman said.
Magic chief executive Sheryl Dawson was overcome with emotion in the Auckland International Airport arrivals hall.
"To see these people here cheering for the girls who have worked so hard - I've never had this before in my life and it is just so special," she cried.
"We want to thank the fans not only from our region but the entire country for their support and wishes leading into last nights game - it's been incredible.”
Hamilton mayor Julie Hardaker hopes to announce details tomorrow of a victory celebration for the team.
"Staff are working closely with the Magic to finalise details of a public event to celebrate this exciting victory. The Magic have thousands of supporters in Hamilton and Waikato, and we'll let them know celebration plans once we have confirmed the arrangements."
Hardaker said the Magic's win would be a major boost for the sport in the region, and she paid credit to the players, coach Noeline Taurua and the team's support staff for turning around the team's fortunes and claiming the title.
"For a team to lose its first four games of the season to go on and win 12 straight matches to claim the title is an incredible achievement. We are hugely proud of them."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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