“Fun, exciting, ambitious” – three words Sara Bayman would use to describe UWS Sirens.
The experienced mid-courter was one of several new faces unveiled by the club for 2018 as they made a real statement of intent in assembling their squad.
After a season in New Zealand, Bayman’s thrilled to be back in the Vitality Netball Superleague and determined to help Sirens better their sixth-place finish from 2017.
She said: “I’m enjoying it – it’s obviously a new challenge, a new group, trying to settle into a different city, adjusting to how they do things and trying to add my input as well.
“I think because it’s a completely different group – we’ve got people coming in from all over – there’s a buzz around it because we’re not sure yet what we’re capable of and that’s exciting to find that out.
“Personally, I want to stay injury free and play well and make sure I make a real positive contribution on court for Sirens.
“Top four is obviously the aim for every team starting out and we’d hope to make that but it’s going to be competitive this year and it’s going to be tough so you’ve just got to take the games as they come.”
Vanessa Walker, Shantal Slater and Leah Kennedy are among the other new arrivals as well as New Zealander Tanya Dearns taking over as head coach.
And Bayman has admitted that the fact that it’s a new-look team will be one of the main challenges.
All the Superleague teams will also have to successfully bridge the mid-season break for the Commonwealth Games.
Discussing both matters, Bayman said: “We’ve got a lot of different styles that you’re trying to blend together and working out how we best play to our strengths.
“I think for us, it’s going to be about worrying about our own game and not so much about opposition and hopefully making sure that we hit our peak at the right time.
“I think it could go either way with the break – if you’re having a tough time, it’s going to be really good to have a break and kind of re-evaluate and go again; whereas if you’re flying, it’s going to be a bit of a pain to have to stop that momentum.
“So I think it could have a big impact on final standings depending on who comes out of that break well.”
Sirens laid some solid foundations in a memorable debut season, which included sell-out home games, and now want to keep building and developing their positive culture and brand as well as continuing to have an impact both on and off the court.
With a wealth of Superleague and international experience, Bayman is keen to help the club push on.
But who does she think will be Siren’s biggest rivals as they target a top four finish?
Picking out one of her former teams, she said: “I’m not sure if we’ve got rivals yet being such a new team but I think Bath will probably go into the season as favourites, along with Wasps, and that’s understandable given the history of the team but also their pre-season results.
“We’ll see what happens when it gets real!”
Buy tickets for their home fixtures here.