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2023 Season Preview: Surrey Storm

Exciting new additions and a fierce hunger for success, Surrey Storm will leave everything on the court in 2023.

Mikki Austin’s team caused a stir during the signing window and have built a well-rounded squad ahead of the 2023 Season Opener.

With several Netball Super League winners and international stars on their side, Surrey Storm are ready to challenge for the top.

Last Season

It was a see-saw season for Storm last year who ended up seventh in the table.

With eight wins from 20, Mikki Austin’s side were involved in a tough mid-table tussle that saw them involved in a number of closely-fought contests.

A tough 49-48 loss to Leeds Rhinos was just one of many such battles and they went toe-to-toe with eventual runners-up Loughborough Lightning in a 57-54 loss early in the season.

Their first victory of 2022 came in a 62-58 win over Grand Finalists Team Bath and with a bolstered squad this season, they will hope fine margins now play in their favour.

Signing Window

Storm rocked the netball world during the summer with some stellar signings joining Austin’s squad.

With youngster Sophie Kelly departing to Team Bath Netball and Ellie Kelk to Saracens Mavericks, Storm were on the hunt for some exciting talent to bring into their ranks.

And they found it in top-players Layla Guscoth and Sophie Drakeford-Lewis as well as returning player Hannah Knights and former Wasps player Amy Flanagan.

Star Player

There are almost too many star players to mention at Storm but new signing Layla Guscoth is too good not to mention.

The 2022 Player of the Season, Guscoth has switched sides from Bath to Storm this season for a new challenge.

The Vitality Rose has become a standout player on court in both the domestic and international game, helping Team Bath to third place and victory over London Pulse at the 2022 Grand Final.

Last season Dr Guscoth finished top of intercepts and third for possession gains, a dominant force in any defensive circle.

One to Watch

Hannah Knights’ name will be familiar to many Netball Super League fans.

The former Storm captain and four-time NSL winner retired from netball following the 2020 season but is returning to the court for a new opportunity.

Knights had her first taste of success in 2014 and will be vying for her fifth title with the team this season, the defender already having taken part in Storm’s pre-season games.

With 15 NSL seasons behind her, Knights will be a welcome experienced head in an ambitious side.

What They Said

“It has been a four-year plan and we have been really developing each year, the addition of Layla and Sophie is just incredible,” said captain Yasmin Brookes.

“They have really added to the Storm family and I think we have really grown in pre-season.

“I think we will be a threat this season, which I am really looking forward to. I think we know what we need to do to get to that top four.

“Our whole squad goal is to go for top four this season and we have the ability to achieve that. We have really challenged and pushed ourselves and that top four is up for grabs.”

Coach’s Corner

Player-coach Austin first signed for Storm in 2015 and quickly became a staple of the team.

The back-to-back Super League winner was announced at Director of Netball in 2018 and has stuck true to her word to build a team worthy of lifting the trophy.

She said: “It’s about belief. Last year we knew we could be capable if we played really well on our day and thatโ€™s why our results were a bit inconsistent.

“Now itโ€™s about making sure in certain games we can go for the jugular, finding a way to win even on our bad days.

“I hope that we play a really fierce brand of netball, irrespective of the result we leave our fans feeling like we left everything out there.

We are the most passionate team in the league. We bleed by our colours and live true to our values every day.

“I feel so blessed and lucky to say this is what I do for a living.”

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