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Fi Toner and Jade Clarke of Leeds Rhinos Netball.

Leeds Rhinos Netball have revealed that Jade Clarke and Fi Toner will be co-captains for the club’s inaugural season in the Vitality Netball Superleague (VNSL) season, which starts this Friday against Celtic Dragons.

Vitality Rose Clarke was the first-ever signing for the club and will share the captaincy with Northern Ireland international Toner.

The pair recently came up against each other in the Vitality Netball Legends Series with Clarke playing for the Roses and Toner in the Superleague All Stars side, but on Friday the pair will captain the Rhinos together as the club make history.

“It is a real honour to be named co-captain, especially in the first-ever season of Leeds Rhinos Netball and I’m really excited to work with Fi as well, she’s so experienced and so on the ball with everything,” said Clarke.

“I feel really well supported by the whole club so I’m looking forward to getting started. What’s great about this group is that every player has contributed to leadership at some point and we are a really tight knit group already.

“Vicki Oyesola and I have been away with Roses for part of this pre-season but the rest of the girls have been working so hard in Leeds for months and months. To be able to get the opportunity to play this Friday is a huge reward and we feel really lucky that we are able to go out and do our jobs when a lot of people are not able to do that so.”

Toner added: “It is a great recognition and I’m looking forward to being co-captain alongside Jade for the season ahead. I’ve played against Jade for a number of years so it’s good to be on the same team, I think we both play off each other’s strengths and I think we will make a good partnership.”

Joining Clarke and Toner in the leadership group will be fellow Rose Vicki Oyesola and local talent Brie Grierson. The rising stars will be the teams ’emerging leaders’ with these roles designed to help develop the next generation of Leeds Rhinos Netball captains.

Head Coach Dan Ryan said the team was in very good hands with the four leaders and was looking forward to seeing them all grow the skillset over the course of the season.

“Having Jade and Fi elected as co-captains in our foundation year puts us in a really strong position moving forward. Both are accomplished leaders with very high standards, clear values, strong self-awareness and selflessness which are all critical components for any leadership position. They both have very distinct styles and complement and balance each other really well,” he said.

“To be able to get the opportunity to play this Friday is a huge reward and we feel really lucky that we are able to go out and do our jobs” – Clarke

“As a club, we are really passionate about our people and investing in the next generation. Having Vicki and Brie identified by the team as emerging leaders, it’s a great acknowledgement for the impact they’ve already had in helping build this new team and our overall Rhinos culture.

“We really want all the players to take ownership of this team so for Vicki and Brie to have the opportunity to work alongside and learn from Jade and Fi and for each of them to be able to explore their own leadership identity is really important for their own personal development and that of the team too.

“These four have so much to offer in this leadership space so I can’t wait to see how they all grow and evolve together across the course of the season.”

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