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Tuaine Keenan

Northumbria go out on a high

Team Northumbria beat Celtic Dragons by their largest winning margin of the season on Saturday.

Northumbria Goal Keeper Tuaine Keenan has impressed this season and has said she already can’t wait for the 2017 season.

Read the Northumbria match report below:

Player of the season Tuaine Keenan is committed to the job she started after revealing next season can’t come soon enough.

The no-nonsense defender has forged a formidable partnership with England call-up Leah Kennedy for Team Northumbria this season.

And the pair put in a typically robust shift to see off Celtic Dragons in the club’s final Netball Superleague clash of the season.

The hosts bagged their biggest win of the year with a 60-47 demolition of the Dragons and Keenan said: “We’ve really come together in the last few weeks.

“Four wins this season isn’t the best record and we’re frustrated we didn’t reach our target of six.

“But the results don’t tell the real story.

“We’ve all learnt a huge amount about ourselves and each other and we’ve grown together.

“That’s why I want to come back next season and maintain that progression.

“We needed time to gel as a group because there’s so much diversity within our squad.

“But now we’ve done that there’s no telling what we could achieve next season.”

It remains to be seen whether head coach TeAroha Keenan will keep the core of her NSL roster together ahead of the 2017 campaign.

But the current squad’s potential was there for all to see against a Dragons side that won the corresponding fixture by eight goals in Cardiff.

“That was a poor performance and we have struggled with the travel and the schedule at times,” added Tuaine Keenan.

“I think that has something to do with the fact that we’re a young and inexperienced squad.

“At the start of the season it was unlike anything a lot of the players were used to but we’ve learnt what we need to do.

“It was important we signed off the season in style and on a personal note I still can’t believe that the fans decided I was their player of the season.

“After just one season here it means so much. I’m on a five-year visa here and I have every intention of coming back next season!”

TN had opened up a three-goal lead against the Dragons at half-time but stepped up a gear after the break.

Coach Keenan stuck with the same seven players for the final three quarters and that consistency paid off.

Kennedy reclaimed the captain’s armband and responded to the extra responsibility in style – celebrating last week’s England call-up with her best display of the season.

And once again rookie shooter Chiara Semple showed just why she has been identified as one of the rising stars of Superleague.

Dragons had no answer to TN’s quality across the court with Rebecca Neil a deserved winner of the player of the match award.

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The race to the semis

This weekend will see the final round of Vitality Netball Superleague action before the all-important semi-finals!

There are three fixtures on Saturday 23rd April and one match to be played on Monday 25th April before the play-offs on Saturday 30th April.

As we already know, the four teams making it through to the semi-finals are Manchester Thunder, Hertfordshire Mavericks, Surrey Storm and Team Bath – but the positions in which they finish are not yet cemented.

The first game up on Saturday is at 6pm between Loughborouh Lightning and Team Bath, with the away side looking to put pressure on the top three teams in the league.

Lightning will want to finish their season on a high, and after the disappointment of not reaching the play-offs will be determined to get a win against Bath, making it an intriguing battle.

The following two matches on Saturday will both begin at 6.30pm with the clash between Hertfordshire Mavericks and Surrey Storm being LIVE streamed on the website here: http://www.netballsl.com/members-area/login/

For Mavericks to have the chance to catch Manchester Thunder at the top of the table (they’re currently six points clear) they need to beat Storm and ultimately beat Thunder in Manchester on Monday at 6.15pm – so there’s a huge weekend lying ahead for the team from Hertfordshire.

In the other 6.30pm match on Saturday, Celtic Dragons will make the journey from Wales to Newcastle as they face Team Northumbria for a match where both sides will be battling for pride and to finish their seasons with a win.

This is set to be a huge weekend of Vitality Netball Superleague action, and definitely a weekend not to be missed!

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VNSL Round 13 preview

This Saturday, three matches will take place in the penultimate round of Vitality Netball Superleague.

The first match taking to court will be in Wales, as Celtic Dragons welcome Yorkshire Jets in what is sure to be a huge battle.

Jets will be hungry for their first three points of the season with just two more chances left to get their first win of the season.

Anna Carter has admitted it’s been a disappointing year after such a great 2015 with their highest ever finish – Captain Stacey Francis will be determined for her new side to go out on a high.

This match will be streamed live on the Vitality Netball Superleague website from Wales and starts at 4pm.

The second match of the day will see the focus switch to Hertfordshire at 6.30pm as Mavericks host Team Bath.

This will be a titanic tussle as both of these top-4 secured teams will be looking to finish in the best possible position to tackle the play-offs.

In the reverse fixture, Mavericks were convincing 56-42 winners, meaning Anna Stembridge’s side will be after a revenge-win.

The final fixture of the day will be the second match streamed on the VNSL website, starting at 7pm as Manchester Thunder travel to Surrey Storm.

This match is certain to be a clash of champions – last time out, Storm beat Thunder on their home turf by just 6 goals, 55-49!

Who will you be supporting this weekend? Be sure not to miss any of the action!

Follow us on twitter @NetballSL and follow the live stream in the videos section of the website – details here.

CD-Kylie Paynter

Yorkshire Jets prepare for final two games of season

Yorkshire Jets have two matches left to get their first win of the season – it all starts in Wales at Celtic Dragons on Saturday.

They then go to the Thunderdome to face Manchester Thunder in front of the Sky Sports cameras on Monday for Manchetser Live.

Read the Jets preview of their final busy weekend below:

After almost two weeks without a game, Yorkshire Jets bring their disappointing season to a close in the next few days with their final games in the Vitality Netball Superleague.

After a heavy defeat at Hertfordshire Mavericks in the last round, Anna Carter’s side face two more away trips to Cardiff on Saturday and Manchester on Monday.

The weekend’s game against Celtic Dragons (4pm) will see Jets best chance of getting some points on the board this year against a Welsh side who have made impressive progress this season but still lie seventh in the table.

On Monday, a journey across the Pennines will bring the season to a close with Manchester Thunder the opponents at Netball Manchester Live taking place at Manchester Arena (7.45pm). A crowd of thousands are expected at the event, which is being broadcast live on Sky Sports.

Thunder are currently at the top of the league and hoping to clinch a home semi-final as this year’s competition enters its closing stages. But they faced tough competition from Jets earlier this year with the Yorkshire side ahead for much of the game before being beaten in the final few minutes.

Ahead of the main Superleague game, Manchester Thunder and Yorkshire Jets’ NPL youth teams will also compete with both sides being on a good run of form in that competition.

Jets Head Coach Anna Carter said:

“No-one is disguising the fact that this has been a disappointing season for Yorkshire Jets on court, especially coming on the back of our most successful season in Superleague.

“However, there are always positives to take and, for us, that is particularly the development of our young players – something we are particularly committed to at Jets.

“I am glad we have had the chance to showcase these players in Superleague and NPL and look forward to doing so at Manchester Arena on Monday.”

Jets will be without Vanes-Mari Du Toit for their final games after she returned to South Africa following the death of her grandmother.