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Wasps netball players in a group huddle

Mel Mansfield has urged her Wasps Netball players to “embrace the occasion” ahead of the Vitality Netball Superleague Grand Final this weekend.

The two-time champions will look to secure an unheralded third successive title when they take on Manchester Thunder.

The match will be played at the Copper Box Arena in London on Saturday 18 May (5.30pm) – as the two sides go head-to-head for the top prize in domestic netball.

Mansfield has guided her team to the final in her first year as Head Coach, sealing the spot with an impressive semi-final win against Loughborough Lightning.

“You dream of getting to a Grand Final all season. We’ve had to work really hard to get here and be in this position,” said Mansfield.

“There were moments in the season where you doubt yourself. It would have been easy to let things slip but we didn’t. We pushed on and finished in a really strong position at the end of the regular season.

“We’ve been enjoying training this week and the players are feeling good, we always love the week leading up to Grand Final.

“Grand Finals are special events, win or lose, and I’ve been talking to the players about the importance of embracing the occasion.

“We’ve been here before and we have to take some confidence from that.”

Wasps last met Thunder in Manchester in March, with the hosts coming away as winners by a one-goal margin.

The last time the two sides met in the play-offs was in 2017, with the Black and Golds prevailing in the semi-final clash.

This fixture will mark the first time Wasps and Thunder have contested a Vitality Netball Superleague Grand Final.

Mansfield added: “I’m really happy with the build-up to this final. We played a really tough semi-final and put in a good performance.

“We have to be pleased with our defensive record, that’s a whole team effort, and we’ve got lethal players at both ends of the court.

“It’s about making some slight tactical adjustments for Thunder and combatting their threats.

“We’re expecting a really tough game, they have got top players all over the court and they will be very well structured. They don’t make many mistakes and we’ll have to be at our very best to win.”


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