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Thunder’s Caroline O’Hanlon: “A very strong franchise”

Caroline O’Hanlon is embracing her time at Manchester Thunder and has clear aims for the Vitality Netball Superleague.

The experienced centre joined after representing Sirens in the 2017 season and is now looking to establish herself in her new team.

With all the off-season movement and new-look sides, O’Hanlon believes Thunder will need to take things step by step as they target the top four.

She said: “My priority is to try and secure a place and then our target will be top four before we take it from there.

“All the franchises are obviously very strong and there’s been a lot of movement this year.

“I suppose last year was very unpredictable as well so it’s just trying to take it a game at a time and try to get some consistency.

“Thunder’s a very strong franchise with a great tradition so I’m just looking forward to learning a lot from my time there.”

Thunder have impressed in pre-season with convincing wins against Team Northumbria and Celtic Dragons.

The Black and Yellows stormed to a 77-49 victory over Team Northumbria and O’Hanlon delivered a performance worthy of the Player of the Match award.

Reflecting on her first outing at the Thunderdome, the Northern Ireland international said: “Obviously you’re trying to impress but it was great just to get a run out.

“I thought some of the combinations worked really well.

“I was so surprised at the amount of people who were there for a pre-season friendly – it was a full house.

“The support I had personally from the crowd was overwhelming.

“They’re a great set of fans – very loud and enthusiastic – so really excited about the real matches getting going.”

With the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games taking place from the 5th-15th April, the Superleague will take a break after Round 7 concludes on the 18th March.

All eyes will then return to the Superleague when the action resumes with Round 8 on 21st and 22nd April.

Fast forward to Round 15 and Manchester Thunder will be hosting Wasps at the Manchester Arena.

With the home stretch in sight, the teams will be determined to hit the ground running as they battle to reach the semi-finals on the 30th June and then the final on the 7th July when the 2018 Vitality Netball Superleague Champions will be crowned.

Looking ahead to the mid-season break, O’Hanlon said: “I’ll be away for that and I know that the franchise has plans during that gap so hopefully it shouldn’t have too much of an impact.

“Hopefully it’ll refresh things – it’s a long season so a break to regroup can be welcome at that stage.”

So what should the other clubs expect from Thunder in 2018?

O’Hanlon said: “We’re going to be really hard-working and enthusiastic and our fans reflects that.

“Anybody coming to the Thunderdome should be daunted!”

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