Adelaide Thunderbirds Captain to play last game in SSN

Adelaide Thunderbirds Captain Leana de Bruin has announced that this Friday night’s game against the NSW Swifts will be her last for the club and in the Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) league.

De Bruin, who moved from New Zealand to Adelaide to play for the Thunderbirds this season, said the key factor in her decision to step away from the SSN is her desire to return home.

De Bruin informed the club of her decision to move home in the latter half of the season and told the playing group over the weekend in Brisbane.

De Bruin’s mother Hanna moved from South Africa to help care for her eight-year-old son Caleb, who also made the move across the Tasman Sea.

“Moving to Adelaide has been a big move for my family – more so than I thought it would be,” she said.

“It’s been great having Mum here with me and for her to spend time with Caleb, who has loved living and going to school in Adelaide, but New Zealand is home for Caleb and me,” de Bruin said.

“I’m looking forward to more normality in our family life. It’s time for me to be a mum, and a partner.”

Reflecting on the 13 games she has played for the Adelaide Thunderbirds, de Bruin said she’s loved the intensity of the SSN.

“The intensity of this league is the next best thing to international netball. It’s the best competition in the world and I’ve loved the challenge and how competitive it is,” she said.

“Obviously the results on court are not what we set out for, however we have had a great bunch of girls and despite the results we have all stuck together and I’ve made lifelong friends.”

De Bruin thanked the South Australian public and the Adelaide Thunderbirds fans and members for their support.

“I know it’s been a tough two years for them, but their support for the club is still so strong,” she said.

“Playing in front of the crowd at Priceline Stadium is one of the best home crowds I have been involved in.

“I wish the club all the best for the future and I’ll be watching from abroad.”

General Manager – Adelaide Thunderbirds and Elite Pathways, Melody Cooper said de Bruin will leave a lasting legacy on her 2018 teammates.

“Leana’s leadership this season has been invaluable and is an integral part of why the playing group has remained united and positive,” she said.

“Netball SA and the club know that the move to Adelaide was a huge commitment for Leana and her family and we thank her for her outstanding contribution on and off the court this season. We wish Leana all the best for the future.”

The Adelaide Thunderbirds last game of the 2018 SSN season is against the NSW Swifts on Friday 3 August at 7pm at Priceline Stadium. Tickets are available here.

Leana de Bruin career highlights
  • Debuted in 2001 for Southern Steel
  • Represented South Africa and New Zealand, earning 138 international caps
  • Competed at five World Cups and three Commonwealth Games
  • 2012 ANZ Championship Premiership with Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic, MVP of match
  • Captain of Northern Stars in 2017 and Waikato-Bay of Plenty Magic in 2015 and 2016
  • Friday night’s game will mark de Bruin’s 138th national league game (ANZ Championship and SSN inclusive)