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Vitality Netball Super League

The Severn Stars have secured their first three players, England internationals Jodie Gibson, Laura Malcolm and Eleanor Cardwell.

They will be joining the new franchise run jointly by the University of Worcester and the University of Gloucestershire, for the 2017 Vitality Netball Superleague season.

All three have extensive Superleague experience and played last season for Manchester Thunder.

They have just returned from Australia following the England Roses’ participation in the Quad series with Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, where the team finished third.

All three have also just been selected for the England squad competing in the 2016 Fast5 Netball World Series, a five-a-side version of netball taking place in Australia in October.

The move to the Severn Stars for Gibson will coincide with her academic studies as she will be undertaking a BSc Honours Sports degree at the University of Worcester.

She said: “I am looking forward to the upcoming Superleague season with Severn Stars.

“This is an exciting opportunity with a brand new franchise. I am really excited to start pre-season with the squad and to start working with head coach Mo’onia Gerrard.”

Malcolm said: “I’m very excited to be a part of the brand new franchise Severn Stars this VNSL season.

“Although Thunder will always be an incredibly special franchise to me sometimes as an athlete you need to step out of your comfort zone and throw yourself into a new challenge.

“Working in a completely new environment with Ex-Aussie Diamond, Mo’onia Gerrard, will undoubtedly provide me with that challenge and I can’t wait to be put to the test!”

Cardwell said: “Severn Stars provides a great opportunity to develop as a player and I’m very much excited to work with Mo’onia and all the staff at Stars.

“The talks I’ve had with this new franchise has created confidence in the move I’m making and I’m very optimistic for this season.

“I can’t wait to put on the Severn Stars dress and see what we can do as a team this season.”

The Severn Stars is one of a number of new franchises in the Vitality Netball Superleague and has already signed up former Australian international Mo’onia Gerrard as coach and England star Pamela Cookey to help guide the side.

Severn Stars coach Gerrard said: “Our aim is to develop England’s next generation and we are stepping in the right direction with Jodie, Eleanor and Laura who are currently in the Roses squad.

“We are really excited to have them on board as they are Stars in their own right.”

Cookey added: “It’s fabulous to get our signings rolling.

“These three will be a great addition to the team and one for each area of the court.

“I’m looking forward to seeing what they can do in our colours.”

Co-Director for the Severn Stars and Deputy Pro-Vice Chancellor (Inclusive Sport & Educational Development) at the University of Worcester Mick Donovan said: “We are thrilled at these first exciting player signings.

“This is excellent news for the Severn Stars and sends out a clear message about our desire to put an exciting team on the court.

“At the University of Worcester, we are also looking forward to supporting Jodie as a student/athlete.”

Fellow Director and Head of School for Sport and Exercise at the University of Gloucestershire, Dr Anita Navin said: “We are really looking forward to building a squad around our England Roses.

“I have always valued the work ethic, athleticism and tenacity of all three players and they will be an asset to the super league

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