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Beth Cobden was a signing for Lightning last season.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 27: Beth Cobden of Loughborough Lightning looks on during the Vitality Netball Super League Grand Final match between Team Bath and Loughborough Lightning at Copper Box Arena on June 27, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Chloe Knott/Getty Images for England Netball)

The highly-anticipated Vitality Netball Superleague (VNSL) signing window for the 2022 season officially opened today and, if the excitement of last year’s transfer activity repeats itself, fans will be in for a real treat.

Signing windows are a period in the off-season which allows clubs to retain, promote and – most intriguingly – bring brand new players to the club ahead of the new campaign.

Last year, we saw a magnitude of players switching VNSL teams or joining the league from abroad as imports. To give you a taste of what you can look forward to, we’ve compiled a list of five of the biggest transfers from the previous window.

Jade Clarke – Wasps to Leeds Rhinos

Newcomers Leeds Rhinos were set to unenviable task of compiling a squad from scratch ahead of their maiden campaign in 2021. Dan Ryan secured the signings of some huge names such as Donnell Wallam, Madi Browne and Vicki Oyesola to name a few. However, it was their first-ever transfer that made the biggest splash.

England’s most-capped player, Commonwealth Games winner and previous VNSL champion Jade Clarke switched Wasps for Yorkshire when she penned a deal with Rhinos.

Clarke went onto co-captain the side with Fi Toner and put in some characteristically decisive performances as she helped lead her new teammates to the semi-finals on the first attempt.

Towera Vinkhumbo – Severn Stars to Sirens

Towera Vinkhumbo was not a name on many people’s radar when she joined Scottish outfit Strathclyde Sirens from Severn Stars last year. The Malawi international had made just four appearances for Stars before the 2020 season was cancelled while Sirens had ended the 2019 campaign in ninth place.

The pairing were a match made in heaven, however, and both excelled at Production Park Studio 001 and the Copper Box Arena. Vinkhumbo won Players’ Player of the Season at the VNSL Awards in June as she led the league in terms of intercepts (60) and turnovers (93) last term.

The defender was a major reason why Sirens exceeded expectations so drastically last season as they achieved their best-ever VNSL finish and were fighting for a spot in the semi-finals.

Layla Guscoth – Adelaide Thunderbirds to Team Bath

In contrast, Team Bath Netball’s signing of Layla Guscoth certainly raised eyebrows when the news broke last year. Guscoth is a seasoned international, had played at the 2019 Vitality Netball World Cup, and had won the VNSL on numerous occasions prior to a successful spell in Australia.

Guscoth cited being close to family and being able to work more often as reasons for re-joining Team Bath. She certainly made an impact as she starred in a side that reached their first Grand Final since 2013.

England international Guscoth made the All Star VII due to a string of world class performances. In total, she ended 2021 with 78 deflections, 45 intercepts and a league high of 95 turnovers.

Donnell Wallam – West Coast Warriors to Leeds Rhinos

Donnell Wallam became a standout name in England thanks to her dynamic performances and memorable goals which helped Leeds Rhinos to a fourth-place finish.

The Australian signed for the Yorkshire side on Deadline Day in 2020 stating it was time ‘to get the on-court exposure’ and ‘start her professional career’. She certainly did that – scoring 243 goals despite having to miss extended periods of the season.

With every game being shown on Sky Sports, supporters were able to see each one of her unique goals throughout the season. Confirming her status as a fan-favourite, supporters voted her their Sky Sports Fans’ Player of the Season at the VNSL Awards in June.

Beth Cobden – Loughborough Lightning

Beth Cobden was another major addition to the league when she joined up with Loughborough Lightning for 2021. A Commonwealth Games winner with England, the mid-courter enjoyed spells with Adelaide Thunderbirds in 2019 and was included in Southern Force’s squad for 2020.

However, she re-signed for Lightning last summer keen to put her injury issues behind her. It proved a triumphed return to the VNSL. Citing ‘unfinished business’ upon her announcement, Cobden helped Lightning to a first-place finish and their first-ever Superleague title.

It was another league title for Cobden who also fared well at the VNSL Awards in the same month. She won Vitality Player of the Season ahead of fierce competition having made 64 deflections – the fourth most in the league – 50 turnovers and 29 intercepts for her side.

These five transfer alongside moves like Ine-Mari Venter to Saracens Mavericks, Lefebre Rademan to London Pulse and Gezelle Allison to Wasps helped make the 2021 window one of the best to date.

Can 2022 provide even more excitement? Find out! We will be covering each signing in full on our website, our Twitter Moment and Instagram Guide Don’t miss out!

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!

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