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Vitality Netball Super League

Emma Dovey will lead an experienced Manchester Thunder defence in 2018.

She will also captain the team for a second season in 2018.

Dovey is joined once again by Kerry Almond, Dani Bloomfield and Bea Skingsley while Abby Tyrrell and Taylor Cullen will step up from the Performance squad to complete the defensive end.

The 26-year-old is relishing a second season as skipper and believes her ‘daunting’ first season will make her a better leader in 2018.

“Last year was a new experience and that can be quite daunting,” she said.

“However, now I have a year of experience, I think I will be more confident, particularly as we have a similar team to last season and I know the girls a lot better.”

Thunder’s defence is the real foundation of the squad, with Dovey taking to the court alongside Almond for over a decade.

Their vast experience playing together is vital but Dovey concedes that bringing in new players is important for any team, too.

She added: “Last year we had a few new faces in Bea and Dani join us, so that will continue to build this season.

“I think, although the experience is a massive advantage, our biggest advantage is that we have five strong defenders that can go on and do a job for us at any time.”

Tyrrell has been a training partner for the Superleague squad for a number of seasons, so is expected to fit in well with Thunder’s style, with Dovey and Almond also playing with the young defender at Oldham Netball Club.

“Abby has that much needed height in the circle and tracks players well both in and out the circle,” Dovey said.

“She has grown in confidence over the last few seasons and this is showing in her performances – I think this year for Abby will be about being exposed into the Superleague and learning from any court time she gets.”

Looking ahead to the season, Dovey is hoping for performances to be proud of, with the aim once again to make the play-offs.

She added: “ This year feels very different to last season – we were underdogs last season and ready to prove people wrong – this season there is more pressure on us to perform well as we did manage to prove people wrong and finished third.”

For more information on the 2018 Manchester Thunder squad, head to their official website.

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