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Kathryn Turner of Manchester Thunder.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 18: Turner during the Vitality Netball Superleague Grand Final match between Wasps Netball and Manchester Thunder at The Copper Box on May 18, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images for Vitality)

Kathryn Turner has announced her retirement from professional netball after a stellar career in the Vitality Netball Superleague (VNSL).

A one-club woman, Turner spent her entire career with Manchester Thunder having made her first appearance at the age of 15.

Since then, Turner has evolved into a serial winner and consistent performer for her club. She will retire with three VNSL titles to her name and was named in the league’s All Star VII at the VNSL Awards in 2017.

The goal attack was not involved in the 2021 campaign due to her being pregnant and now, at 28, has announced that she has retired from the sport alongside long-term teammate Emma Dovey.

“Unfortunately I’ve decided not to come back. I did feel it was kind of my time to step away from the sport and I’ve entered a new chapter in my life now, especially with Rosie [my daughter] coming along. I think the focus for me now is going to be family moving forward,” said Turner.

“I’ve been thinking about it for a little while, and I felt my netball career was naturally coming to an end. I’ve been playing netball for so long now, and last season it was my eleventh season at Thunder, so I just thought the time was right.

“I started netball in primary school, and then I joined a club, and from there really I just progressed through the pathway back then, and then the opportunity came to play for Northern Thunder, as Manchester Thunder was known back then, and that is where it all started.

“My first game feels like a life time ago now, when I was sixteen-years-old. I just remember being really excited and really nervous being on live TV, and also it being down at Bath which is always a really tough venue to go to anyway. I just tried to hook in with teammates around me, and they supported me through that.

“Mike Greenwood, who was the coach at the time, he was always really supportive and really keen to push me, and I will forever be grateful to Mike for pushing me really hard and giving me that opportunity.”

Throughout Turner’s career, she has won the VNSL’s three times in 2012, 2014 and most recently in 2019 when Thunder overcame Wasps at a sell-out Copper Box Arena.

Those three trophies make her one of the league’s most-decorated players and is one of just a handful to win three titles with one club. In fact, she states that her third and final honour tasted the sweetest.

“One of my best memories would probably be that [2019] final. It was an up and down game from the start, and we went six down. After a bumpy start, we got in to it and it was a really good game, and in the end, we came out with the win, and it’s a memory I will never forget,” she said.

“All the Thunder fans were there in the Copper Box Arena, and I had a lot of family there that day as-well, so it was really special.”

Karen Greig, former teammate and current Manchester Thunder Head Coach, said: “Kathryn has been a stalwart for Manchester Thunder for as long as I can remember. To see how far she has come, along as lifting three titles for Thunder is absolutely outstanding. She was a valuable asset of the squad, always super calm in attack and dependable under the post.

“When she told us last year that she couldn’t sign for us for last season because she was pregnant with baby Rosie, we were obviously a bit gutted to lose her, but super excited that she was able to become a mum, and that is something that Kathryn really wanted.

“We did try and entice her back this year, but she’s loving being a mum far too much, so that is completely understandable. We want to thank Kathryn for all of her time with Manchester Thunder, and wish her the best of luck in family life. We know we will see you at the courts of Belle Vue soon.”

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