Manchester Thunder coach Dan Ryan has named his squad for the 2016 Vitality Superleague season.
New signings Natalie Haythornthwaite, Malysha Kelly and Liana Leota join a 15-player Thunder squad that possesses a balance of youth and experience.
Young shooter Amy Clinton’s good form in the Next Generation and Mike Greenwood Trophy pre-season tournaments has been rewarded with a call-up to the Superleague team.
The Mike Greenwood Trophy tournament was held last weekend and saw Thunder defeated in the final to Team Bath, despite going unbeaten throughout the five round-robin matches.
This defeat meant Ryan’s side had to relinquish the title they had held for the past three years.
Beccy Hoult is also making the step up from the NPL squad as she joins a number of senior players with international experience.
These include Jamaica’s Malysha Kelly, New Zealand international Liana Leota along with several England-capped players. Roses centre-courter Sara Bayman will once again captain the Black and Yellows.
Coach Ryan, who will lead Thunder in his debut Superleague season, said he is ‘really happy’ with his final squad with the new season set to begin in just under two months,
“I believe we have everything we need to be really successful in 2016,” said the Melbourne-born boss.
“We have great experience across the squad, strength and depth in all areas of the court and a lot of flexibility and variety as well.
“The squad is an exciting mix of senior internationals, established NSL players, emerging youngsters and some fresh local talent.”
The Australian is confident 18-year-old Clinton will flourish in the country’s top netball league and is keen to develop local talent.
“Amy’s developed out of sight over the past few months and I truly believe she’s going to be someone to watch out for in the coming years,” he said.
Ryan said it was an easy decision to select 30-year-old Bayman as captain due to his ‘enormous faith’ in the World Cup bronze medal winner.
“Sara is well respected by the playing group, the coaching staff and the franchise in general,” he said.
“She’s a real barometer for us and is an athlete that leads from that front, steps up on the big occasions and that’s exactly what you want and need in your captain.”
Bayman, who was part of the England team who won bronze in this year’s world cup held in Australia, is honoured to lead Thunder in 2016.
“We’ve got a really exciting squad this year and it’s a real privilege to be chosen to lead them,” she said.
“Dan knows exactly what he wants from us and his standards are high. It means that everyone is having to raise the bar and push themselves.
“That goes for me too, I’m trying to be the best captain I can and draw from the experience of players like Liana to mould this team into a winning one.
“Thunder have now established themselves as a top team within Superleague and regardless of the signings other teams have made we expect to be in contention at the end of the season.”
Shooters – Amy Clinton, Kathryn Turner, Helen Housby, Ellie Cardwell and Natalie Haythornthwaite
Mid-court – Sara Bayman, Gabby Marshall, Laura Malcolm, Liana Leota and Beccy Hoult
Defenders – Kerry Almond, Emma Dovey, Malysha Kelly, Jodie Gibson and Paige Kindred