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Dragons’ Leila Thomas: “Aiming for Final Four”

Celtic Dragons are heading into the 2018 Vitality Netball Superleague season with a point to prove and are determined to paint the court green!

The team boast the best of Welsh netball talent and are looking forward to once again pitting themselves against some of the world’s best as they look to build on last season.

Defender Leila Thomas can’t wait to pull on her match dress and get out on court in front of the vociferous and proud Green Army.

She said: “It’s going to be a really exciting season, we obviously have a bit of an overlap between the Wales and Celtic Dragons squad, so we feel we are lot more cohesive this season.

“That overlap definitely works as an advantage because we know in different situations how to make each other click and how to get the best out of each other because we train together so often.

“We finished last season with a strong performance against Northumbria so we are looking at bringing that strong start into the new season.”

The Welsh club start their season with back-to-back home fixtures – against the newly rebranded benecosMavericks and then five-time champions Team Bath Netball – and Thomas admitted Dragons are eager to get going.

She said: “We started pre-season quite early and have been training together for quite a while now and we are definitely hungry for our first match now.

“The focus has been a lot more on our S&C programme early on, trying to get our speed and strength up so I think that will show on court as well.”

Dragons are hoping that the return of Wales internationals Nia Jones, Cara Lea Moseley, Georgia Rowe and Amanda Varey will boost their chances this season.

And Thomas picked out Rowe as one to watch as the team looks to make an impact and turn a few heads.

The Caerleon native has returned to the club after a spell with Team Northumbria and first came to prominence after getting the call to join the Wales squad for the 2015 World Cup in Sydney.

Singling out her teammate, Thomas said: “We have Georgia Rowe back down the shooting end this year, that’s quite a nice tall target in the circle to aim for so her being back should be exciting.”

Dragons have been part of the Vitality Netball Superleague since its inception and enjoyed their most successful season to date in 2013, when they reached the grand final before being edged out by Team Bath.

Looking ahead to the new season, Thomas is clear about the club’s targets.

She said: “The aim is to carry on the progression from the end of last season and to progress with that, we’ve got a few new players this season and we are looking forward to pushing on.

“We are definitely aiming to reach the Final Four and we will have to see how the season develops.”

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