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Five Things We Learned: Vitality Netball Superleague Season Opener

The new Vitality Netball Superleague season became the biggest one day netball event in UK history last weekend and was also one of the most exciting.

All ten franchises played over five games in a bid to get their 2020 campaign off with a bang. In doing so, they provided the highest-scoring opening weekend in the league’s 15-year history.

We have selected five key talking points from all the weekend’s action…

Sigi’s world

Sigi Burger took 44 shots for London Pulse on Saturday and scored 44 goals.*

An incredible 100% shooting record helped guide her side to an opening-round win over Strathclyde Sirens. When London Pulse secured Burger in the off-season it caught the eye of fans around the world and her perfect start will have Head Coach Sam Bird delighted with the South African’s start to life in London.

Wilson impresses

Although Latanya Wilson ultimately ended up on the losing side, Wilson’s athleticism and defensive ability for Celtic Dragons shone through to the 9,200 fans in the arena and thousands watching on Sky Sports.

Recording 10 intercepts, which was more than any other player across the day, Wilson looks like a fantastic signing for the Welsh side.*

The Jamaican defender had already caught the eye of pundits ahead of the 2020 campaign after a brilliant Vitality Netball Nations Cup campaign. Wilson even made Tamsin Greenway’s five players to keep an eye on this season:

Saracens on top

Saracens Mavericks laid down a marker to the rest of the league and showed they mean business. A convincing 70-49 win over Severn Stars was a sensational way to start their 2019.

Whether it’s ‘the curse of the Bambino’ in baseball or the ‘Bela Guttmann curse’ in football, after two consecutive fifth-place finishes and no title since 2011 Saracens Mavericks might have been forgiven for thinking they might have a curse of their own, but if they do, they have started in the perfect way to break it and many expect them to be in contention this season.

Goals goals goals

557 goals were scored on Saturday, making Season Opener, the highest-scoring Round 1 in recent years. The total goals scored was 41 more than last season total.

2020 also saw the record for highest scoring game broken when Team Bath beat Loughborough Lightning 72-58, this overtook last season’s contest between Wasps and Loughborough Lightning.

Fans will be hoping this trend continues and we see more goals than any other season!

The Champions return in style

After winning the 2019 Superleague, Manchester Thunder are aiming to win their second successive title. Having picked up three championships in their history, but never back to back titles, could this be the year? Well, they certainly signalled their intent with a controlled performance against Wasps Netball.

Eleanor Cardwell looked assured in attack finishing with 88% successful shooting stat, and Karen Grieg rotated her mid-court offering up different combinations throughout. After Thunder stalwart, Kerry Almond retired Thunder needed to reinforce their defence and new signing Loreen Ngwira looked at home in black and yellow.

The full package? Quite possibly, only time will tell.

Round 2 takes place on Saturday 29 February and Monday 2 March. Times and venues can be found here.

Make sure you’re following @NetballSL on Twitter and Instagram. You can also sign up for the VNSL Newsletter to stay up to date with news, tickets and transfers!

*Stats taken from data entered by statistician inputters at Season Opener
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