Ten years ago, Erena Mikaere made her debut for the Splice Construction Magic Netball Team at WD in Tāupo and she remembers every minute on court.

“Yes, I was a WD which is so funny,” laughs the now GD/GK.

“In those first few years at Magic I had like a total of three minutes. I was behind the likes of Casey [Kopua] and Leanna [de Bruin]. But it was pretty cool to be playing with your idols,” says Silver Fern #175.

Set to take on her 100th National League game against the Robinhood Stars, at 18, Erena was offered a training partner contract with the Magic fresh from school at Rotorua Lakes High School.

“It’s a lot different to the days when Bailey [Mes] and I started playing that you started on the bench behind great players and did your time. Nowadays you can get 25 games if you make the finals in the season.”

The 1.92m athletic defender says she has a colourful wardrobe because of her career with stints playing at the Southern Steel, Westcoast Fever, Sunshine Coast Lightning before returning to New Zealand to join the Mystics and then back home to the Magic in 2019.

Although she has been part of three championship winning sides – the Magic (2012) and with the Lightning (2017 & 2018), Erena says it’s the players who are the biggest highlight.

“For me it’s about the caliber and beautiful players that I’ve played with over the years.”

“Players like Casey, Geva Mentor, Leanna – I looked up to them as defenders, that’s been a highlight to play alongside them and many others.”

Her daughter Bileigh (12) has been her biggest inspiration.

“My daughter and I have a great partnership and she’s allowed me to do what I do. My parents [Brenda and Kerry] have been awesome as well. I couldn’t have done it without them.”

When Erena was pregnant with Bileigh she remembers someone saying to her that her life in sport was over.

“I thought how dare you, I feel like this is just beginning. There’s more support around Mothers now. It takes a tribe. It’s hard but it’s doable.”

“Bileigh has so many Aunties, she doesn’t know how blessed she is.”

One of those Aunties is Magic Captain, Samantha Winders, who says her mates’ 100th game has been a long time coming and she’s grateful for everything Erena brings to the Magic.

“E is just herself, whether you like it or not, and I bloody love her for that.”

“She’s the Mum of our team but also down with the young ones. We’re so proud of her.”

Relentless on the court and relentless in life, your Magic whānau congratulate you on your 100th ANZ Premiership Game.

The Magic take on the Robinhood Stars tonight at 7.10PM at Bruce Pulman Arena.

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