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McCormick of Manchester Thunder.

WAKEFIELD, ENGLAND - APRIL 11: Ella McCormick of Manchester Thunder in action during the match between Surrey Storm and Manchester Thunder on day three of round 11 of the Vitality Netball Superleague at Studio 001 on April 11, 2021 in Wakefield, England. (Photo by Morgan Harlow/Getty Images)

Pathway defender Elia McCormick signs for Manchester Thunder for the 2022 Vitality Netball Superleague (VNSL) season.

Starting on the Thunder performance pathway when she was 14, McCormick is a huge success story of the Thunder pathway which aims to find, inspire and develop the next generation of leading netballers not only for Manchester Thunder, but for the North West and England.

There have been many exceptional athletes who have come through the Thunder pathway including Helen Housby, Laura Malcolm and Amy Carter to name a few.

For the 2021 season, McCormick was selected to be a training partner for Manchester Thunder, and quickly became a regular member of the matchday squad, playing in twenty games.

From making her Superleague debut at the start of the season, she has gone from strength to strength in her defensive position, and Manchester Thunder have rewarded her with a full contract for the 2022 season.

When asked about her debut last season for Manchester Thunder, McCormick said: “I think that being in the pathway at Thunder really does help to prepare you for Superleague. We had a lot of interaction with the first team squad over the years, always playing against them.

“I had been a training partner for about three years before my debut so I’ve known all the girls on the team for a while now, and they are all really welcoming, making you feel a part of the team and giving you the confidence to step on court with them.

“I think that [Thunder] training is always at a really intense high level, so it really does prepare you for matches which is what we want. The main difference [from playing a Superleague match] is the people that you are playing against, because playing against your teammates in training each week and stepping on court against a different team with different players is really different.

“A lot of the players in the Superleague I haven’t played against before, so it was really stepping in to the unknown, but playing against the players I don’t know isn’t always a bad thing because you don’t have any pre-determined thoughts or worries about a particular player.

“Hopefully this season will be another season full of opportunities and making new combinations with the new players that arrive, as well as building on those from last season.

“I would like to build on the connection I have with Kerry [Almond] as a goal keeper, and Shadine [van der Merwe] is coming in so I’d like to see what it’s like with her. I think we’re probably very similar players so we will work with each other well.”

Karen Greig, Manchester Thunder Head Coach, said: “Elia had a fantastic breakout season last season and was rewarded with our Most Improved Player of the Year. Having worked her way through the Thunder Pathway she epitomises what it takes to learn, grow and develop as a player.

“Her attitude and willingness to learn from those around her saw her excel in our environment last year and certainly put a lot of attackers under pressure when she got the opportunity on court. I am so happy we can reward Elia with a full contract this season and I am excited to see her keep pushing herself and those around her.”

McCormick becomes Manchester Thunder’s eighth signing of the 2022 Signing Window after Natalie Haythornthwaite, Shadine van der Merwe, Laura Malcolm, Eleanor Cardwell, Joyce Mvula, Caroline O’Hanlon and Kerry Almond 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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