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Airey of Leeds Rhinos.

WAKEFIELD, ENGLAND - MARCH 28: Rebekah Airey of Manchester Thunder in action during the match between Manchester Thunder and Leeds Rhinos on day one of round 8 of the Vitality Netball Superleague at Studio 001 on March 28, 2021 in Wakefield, England. (Photo by Morgan Harlow/Getty Images)

Leeds Rhinos Netball have strengthened their defensive options for the 2022 Vitality Netball Superleague season with the signing of Rebekah Airey on a one year-deal from Manchester Thunder.

The 25 year-old, who can play at goal keeper, goal defence and wing defence started her career with Tyldesley Netball Club, before joining Tameside Netball.

She moved to Loughborough Lightning in 2014 where she made her Superleague debut before switching to Thunder in 2019 where she won the Championship.  She played 20 times for Thunder last season, including in the third-fourth place Play Off game against Rhinos.

She progressed through the England age groups and was selected for the U21s Tour to Australia in 2016 alongside current Rhinos players Rhea Dixon, Vicki Oyesola and Amy Clinton. She captained England’s winning U21 side at Netball Europe in 2017 and represented them again in 2019 in Belfast, alongside Rhinos shooter Sienna Rushton when England again won the competition.

Commenting on signing for Rhinos Netball she said: “I am so looking forward to joining up with the Rhinos.  I think as soon as I’m with them I will be able to hit ground running.  The majority of the girls there I know from the netball circuit so it will be great to be playing alongside them.

“It’s exciting to be part of the full time environment at the Rhinos, the work ethic and the culture that you get surrounded by like minded people helps drive you and it will also help because we are all very competitive which means we will all push each other.

“I am quite a versatile player so hopefully I will fit into the squad well and I love the fact that they are quite adaptable so they change quite a lot and are open and honest and direct and I appreciate that approach.

Dan Busfield, Leeds Rhinos Netball’s Franchise Director, said: “We are pleased to be able to bring in a player with Rebekah’s experience to our squad.  She has played with many of the girls before and is excited to be part of our full time environment so I am sure she will fit in perfectly.  We look forward to seeing her in the blue and amber next season as we aim to build our debut season.”

Maggie Birkinshaw, assistant coach for Rhinos Netball added: “Rebekah is a great addition to our squad, she can play across all three defensive positions and will bolster our defensive unit.

“She reads the game really well and is a strong and creative defender and I have been impressed with what I have seen from her at Thunder.  I think her style will complement ours and her enthusiasm and competitive attitude will be great attributes for squad.”

Airey is the seventh signing for Rhinos Netball alongside Rhea Dixon, Vicki Oyesola, Sienna Rushton, Tuaine Keenan, Amelia Hall and Amy Clinton.

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