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Off The Court: Eleanor Cardwell on ‘The Claw’, Metcalf link-up and new Superleague scoring target

Cardwell has been part of the Vitality Roses set-up since 2016 (Image: Ben Lumley)

90 goals are the next target for Manchester Thunder sharpshooter Eleanor Cardwell, whose team broke the Vitality Netball Superleague scoring record against Wasps last week.

The 27-year-old poured it on with goal shooter Joyce Mvula, fed by Nat Metcalf, as runaway league leaders Thunder soared past the old record of 86 goals to net 88.

But Cardwell already has a new horizon in sight, lofty ambitions she revealed exclusively to Tasmin Greenway and Caroline Barker on the Off the Court podcast.

“I was gutted that we didn’t get to the 90,” Cardwell said. We just need to be a bit more clinical in those final 2 minutes to get there.

“I feel like it’s good every game to have a new goal to reach and I think 90 might just be the one.”

Greenway has seen most things in netball but even she was disbelieving at the scoreline.

The Sky Sports expert said: “It was cracking. We had Wasps getting an absolute thrashing by Thunder.

“88 goals. I had to look at it twice because it was an absolutely incredible score line!

“You’re going to be in for a goal-fest whenever you go and see Thunder at the moment.”

Cardwell gushed over her newly reformed pairing with Metcalf and is confident that her success this season is down to their ever-improving relationship both off and on the court.

The wing attack returned from playing down under with New South Wales Swifts to re-join Manchester Thunder for the 2022 season.

Cardwell said: “I just absolutely love Nat and we can be very truthful to each other, and I think that’s a great thing about our relationship.

“I can say, ‘Nat that ball wasn’t good enough you need to put it in this space’ and vice versa, she will also tell me if I’ve done a bad ball.

“We don’t see it as a negative thing, it’s a positive thing is the communication between us, and I think that’s why it’s really working this year because we are just so open and honest with each other.”

Nicknamed ‘The Claw’ because of her catching style, Cardwell is hoping that the upcoming Round 16 match with Team Bath Netball will prove a useful test in the run up to the Vitality Netball Superleague semi-finals.

And even more so, that it won’t be a repeat of their 2021 semi-final defeat.

She said: “Any loss hurts but especially when it’s in a semi-final situation.

“Bath is always difficult. They are an incredibly difficult opponent, especially in that defence end.

“I think this Bath game’s going to be incredibly important for us because we need to get that consistency and we need to keep going hard and trying different tactics to see us up for those semi-finals.”

You can watch Manchester Thunder v Team Bath Netball live on Sky Sports Mix on Monday at 5.30pm or buy tickets here.

Follow @NetballSL on TwitterInstagramTikTok or subscribe to our newsletter for the latest Vitality Netball Superleague news.</strong

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