It was the team deemed least likely to succeed in the glitzy new netball franchise competition launched in 1998, but it succeeded way beyond anyone's expectations. In the process, the Southern Sting captured the hearts and lifted the spirits of a region that had suffered decades of having the stuffing knocked out of it. Fans queued for two days and two nights to buy tickets to Sting games. Conservative Southlanders donned tinsel wigs in the teams' green and blue colours and went wild. Thousands lined the streets of Invercargill for end-of-season victory parades. Southern Sting tells the story of the rise and rise of one of the most successful and envied teams in modern New Zealand sporting history. Based on extensive research and dozens of interviews with the players, coach, support staff, franchise operators, funders, fans and community leaders, it cleverly interweaves the story of the team's on-court brilliance with its off-court impact on the people of Southland.
Ian Dougherty is a Dunedin-based author and journalist. His previous books for Exisle are Arawata Bill, on gold prospector William James O'Leary, and Heart of Gold, on contemporary Otago.