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Haythornthwaite won two back-to-back titles with Wasps.

Haythornthwaite won two back-to-back titles with Wasps.

Natalie Haythornthwaite has signed for Manchester Thunder for the upcoming 2022 Vitality Netball Superleague (VNSL) season.

One of the biggest names in the sport, Haythornthwaite’s signing becomes one of the notable transfers in the history of the division and one that will surely play a large part in the forthcoming campaign.

This is the latest chapter in what has been a hugely successful career for the England international. We take a look at her elite journey so far:

Leeds Carnegie / Yorkshire Jets:

Haythornthwaite started her elite journey in Yorkshire, making her Superleague debut with Leeds Carnegie during the 2009-10 season. The Keighley-born wing attack netted one goal that season playing alongside the likes of future England teammate Natalie Panagarry and Australian shooter Carla Dziwoki.

She would gain more playing time as a goal attack in the following campaign, scoring 103 goals from 133 attempts at a success rate of 77.4%. Her influence on the team continued as the side rebranded as Yorkshire Jets in 2012 and she would go onto vice-captain the team in the 2015 season.

Indeed, the 2015 campaign was her best in the VNSL so far. Haythornthwaite helped them to the semi-finals for the first time and won Player of the Season for her accomplished performances under the post, scoring 92 from her 125 attempts and assisting eventual top scorer Lottysha Cato.

Jets lost their semi to eventual champions Surrey Storm and their third-place play-off to Manchester Thunder, who she joined in the signing window.

Manchester Thunder:

Similarly to her 2021 transfer, Haythornthwaite became Thunder’s first season of the window when she joined in September 2015.

The attacker cited new Head Coach Dan Ryan’s ANZ experience as one of the main reasons for the move and went onto have another successful season with the Manchester outfit.

Their star signing had her most accurate season to date with her 105 goals from 124 shots, a rate of 85%. She once again helped her team reach the semi-finals after Thunder finished top of the table by some distance.

Haythornthwaite managed to reach her first-ever Grand Final after beating Team Bath Netball but once again lost to Surrey Storm. The two-goal defeat was to be her final game in a Thunder dress until she makes her second debut for the club next year.

Wasps:

The 28-year-old made her third transfer in as many years when she signed for newcomers Wasps for their inaugural Superleague season, becoming Tamsin Greenway’s ninth signing of the window.

Haythornthwaite was integral for her new team and quickly became a fan-favourite thanks to her performances in the attacking third of the court. Playing alongside either Rachel Dunn or George Fisher, the England international racked up 210 goals in 275 attempts to help Wasps to the semi-finals at the first attempt.

In fact, Haythornthwaite played in all 20 matches for her team including both games at Finals Weekend where she beat her old side Thunder in the semis before going onto narrowly defeat Loughborough Lightning by four goals in the Grand Final.

This was her first-ever league title and set up a run of three consecutive league title wins for the wing attack / goal attack. The next once again came with Wasps, who went into the finals having finished top of the division.

Haythornthwaite netted 19 times against Bath in the semis and 12 in the Grand Final, as they once again overcame Lightning by a total of four goals. Until now, this was her final game in the VNSL as she joined Australian outfit NSW Swifts later that year.

NSW Swifts:

Haythornthwaite received her most notable move to date when she joined New South Wales Swifts in the Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) league. After joining the Swifts as an injury replacement in the late stages of 2018, she spared no time cementing her place in the team.

Primarily now playing at wing attack, Haythornthwaite had a final spell out in Australia. She made 37 league appearances for Swifts and racked up more than a century of assists in both 2020 and 2021 seasons.

Playing alongside Helen Housby, the Vitality Rose won the SSN titles in 2019 and 2021. Haythornthwaite won her third successive title when her new side dominated Sunshine Coast Lightning in the 2019 final.

Although they just missed out in 2020, Swifts bounced back in impressive fashion and Haythornthwaite managed to win an incredible fourth league title in five years.

England:

Alongside all this domestic success, Haythornthwaite was making waves on international level and duly received her England debut against Trinidad and Tobago in 2015.

Since then she has earned an incredible 50 caps for her country on the biggest stages and against the best sides in the world; Nat has won medals at Netball Europe Championships, Vitality Netball World Cups and Commonwealth Games.

Nat played in the deciding quarter of England’s historic final against Australia at the Commonwealth Games in 2018 and was part of the team to win England’s first gold medal at the competition. One year later, she made an impact at the Vitality Netball World Cup in Liverpool as her side went on to win bronze.

Nat has continued to showcase her talents in the red dress since then, captaining the Vitality Roses to a three-match test series victory in South Africa before taking up the same role for the Vitality Netball Nations Cup.

For all the latest of signings during the window, make sure to follow the @NetballSL on Twitter, Instagram and visit our Transfers page.

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