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Karen Greig praises near netball perfection as Manchester Thunder crowned champions

Thunder won their fourth Superleague title at the Copper Box (Image: Ben Lumley)

Manchester Thunder boss Karen Greig lauded a near-perfect season as her side went unbeaten to win their first Vitality Netball Superleague title since 2019.

Thunder made it 22 wins on the trot with 60-53 win over Loughborough Lightning in the Grand Final to lift the trophy in a dominant performance at London’s Copper Box Arena.

It capped a season that will live long in the memory for Greig and her players as they neared netball perfection.

“I don’t think you can get any closer than that,” said Greig.

“A lot of our girls will probably turn around and say this is the best squad we’ve ever had.

“The unitedness of the team has been phenomenal, the girls have got each other’s backs. They get on, on and off the court, which for me is a culture thing and you see transfer from off to on: you couldn’t ask for more.”

Thunder raced into a 20-6 lead in a first quarter marred by injury to Lightning’s Ella Clark, and Greig’s charges never relinquished their lead to take the title back to the north west.

The head coach was full of praise for how her side dealt with the pressure of the occasion in front of a frenetic crowd.

“I don’t think you feel the pressure because you’re undefeated, you feel the pressure because you’re going into a final,” admitted Greig.

“We’ve treated every single game exactly the same this season, we’ve wanted to win every game, we’ve approached it in the same way and today was no different.

“Just because it was a final, we didn’t do anything different. If you throw something different at the team it can throw them off.

“Undefeated is absolutely amazing and we’re super proud of it, but to get over the line today is phenomenal.”

Eleanor Cardwell, who was voted the league’s Players’ Player of the Season, finished the game with a final goal to spark jubilant scenes on the Thunder bench, and Greig believes it is just desserts for her players’ hard work throughout the campaign.

“To see those girls plug away every single week in training, we’ve thrown so much at them every week in training,” said Greig.

“They’ve really embraced what we’ve asked of them so I couldn’t be prouder of everybody, and that’s not just the players.

“Everybody that’s been involved in this franchise this year has made sure that we were getting it right on and off the court.”

The utterly dominant performance was a fitting tribute to a side that Performance Director Tracey Neville believes to be one of the league’s best of all time.

“This is one of the best club sides I’ve coached,” said Neville.

“We’ve got a team full of internationals and potential internationals and they drive the standards in the group. The Roses are the best girls in England, but this team is not far off.”

Vitality Netball Superleague is the UK’s elite domestic netball competition and features eleven teams from England, Wales and Scotland. For more information visit netballsl.com

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