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Saracens Mavericks - Netball Is Home

Balance is a fundamental part of netball, as Saracens Mavericks star Razia Quashie well knows – and it extends to how you treat your opponents.

The defender made her way through the Mavericks ranks and has some advice for her teammates Aliyah Zaranyika and Bella Bayliss who have trodden the same development pathway.

When the Mavericks step on the Resorts World Arena court to face Wasps for the opening weekend of the Vitality Netball Superleague in Birmingham, it will be about giving the exact right amount of respect.

“We have got two at the moment, Aliyah and Bella, who are in the pathway, who have gone through the age groups and now are in the 12 for Mavericks,” the 24-year-old said.

“It is exciting to see dedication and hard work over the years has actually meant something and they have proved themselves to be in this position.

“They are amazing people and players and just to see the growth over the years has just been amazing and that is why pathways are good, they give people the opportunity, the skill set, and the coaching to get where they want to be.

“The quality has gone up so much from when I was a youngster and first on court, I think the first thing I would tell them is respect players but don’t give them too much respect!

“It is a totally different thing. I respect the path you have created for people coming through but at the same time, I am going to fight on court for that ball, I am going to prove myself.

“For them, it is just like don’t worry about it, I know you are going to be nervous but get on there, prove yourself, do your job and do it well and the rest will be history.”

Something else Quashie will hope to have consigned to the past is her injury worries, the stalwart in defence suffered two injuries in the 2021 VNSL season – the second, an Achilles injury, ending her season.

This left her unable to help her side’s final push for a play-off place, which the Hertfordshire-based team ultimately felt short of – finishing fifth, just two points outside the top four.

Quashie said: “I didn’t just miss out, I was injured but it was painful to watch, I think after injuring myself at the game before and then lying-in bed watching the team really hoping that they could do it for me on the bed.

“But no, it was fine. I feel like I would have been upset if they did win, then I wasn’t there with them at some point.

“It was disappointing. I know we could have done better, so hopefully this year, we get to prove ourselves and justify why we should be in the top four.”

Saracens Mavericks boasts the services of England stars, and sisters, Sasha and Kadeen Corbin and have more international experience in Trinidad and Tobago’s Jameela McCarthy and Ine-Mari Venter of South Africa.

Their drive and determination will be needed if the Mavericks are to achieve their aim of finishing in the top four and all eyes will be on them as a record number of matches will be broadcast across Sky Sports platforms for a home-and-away-season.

“I think [we need] the fight, I think we need to want it for ourselves. Sometimes last year, we became complacent, and it didn’t feel like everyone on court wanted the same thing.

“So, I feel like this year, we’re on the same page, we all want to get to the end. I think if we all work towards that, we’ll get there.”

Saracens Mavericks get their 2022 Vitality Netball Superleague home campaign underway on February 11. Buy your tickets to their home games at Hertfordshire Sports Village and the University of Essex Sports Arena here.

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