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Kerry Almond of Manchester Thunder.

Kerry Almond during the Vitality Super League match between Strathclyde Sirens and Manchester Thunder at Studio 001, Wakefield, England on 12th January 2021.

Kerry Almond has re-joined Manchester Thunder for the 2022 campaign, her 13th season in the Vitality Netball Superleague (VNSL).

Rumours have been flying around the netball community around whether seasoned Thunder legend Kerry Almond would be returning for the 2022 season, or whether she would go back in to retirement as she did after the 2019 season.

As Almond herself said: “Despite what everyone has been saying about me on social media, I am back for the 2022 season which will be my 13th season for Manchester Thunder, and I couldn’t be happier.”

The three-times Superleague winner came out of retirement after the late withdrawal of the injured Loreen Ngwira just before the start of the 2021 season.

“Debbie [Hallas] accosted me one Tuesday morning in the Netball UK office where I work, and asked whether I fancied coming out of retirement,” explained Almond.

“I was a bit unsure as I hadn’t done any running so I told her I would see, however it was great to be back involved and seeing all the girl’s faces. It was brilliant decision for me to come out of retirement.”

Almond enjoyed a first fantastic season back in 2021 and helped Thunder to a third-place finish. Only two players had more deflections than the defender’s 75 and just four recorded more turnovers.

“There’s a lot more contesting now and the umpires are letting a lot more go which is great as I really enjoy that side of the game,” she said. “The shooting circles are becoming a lot more congested with bigger bodies in there as the girls are taller and stronger, so there is a lot more bodying up and a few more bruises.

“It makes it more of a spectacle and is just one of those aspects you need to get to grips with. As a defender, if you don’t like the physical stuff then you’re in the wrong position.

“The ultimate aim next season is always to win the Superleague but obviously you’ve got to take it one game at a time, with a top four finish being the first aim and then anything can happen from there.

“Personally, I just want to carry on with what I thought was pretty good form for myself, and build in some new connections in and around the circle and the defensive third.”

Manchester Thunder Head Coach, Karen Greig, said: “Just when everyone thought she was going to re-retire, I am delighted to have Kerry back. She came back firing last season and was in the best condition of her life which translated to her on court performances.

“It was key for us to re-sign Kerry again for this season as she provides stability to our squad especially in the defensive end, and her work with the upcoming young defenders is invaluable!

“I’m really looking forward to seeing how the connections will grow this season, especially with Shadine [van der Merwe.]”

Almond becomes Manchester Thunder’s seventh signing of the 2022 Signing Window after Natalie Haythornthwaite, Shadine van der Merwe, Laura Malcolm, Eleanor Cardwell, Joyce Mvula and Caroline O’Hanlon. You can see the Thunder squad as it develops here.

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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