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2023 Season Preview: Saracens Mavericks

Saracens Mavericks are hoping to go one step further this season after narrowly missing out on a top four spot in 2022.

Camilla Buchanan has taken over as head coach with Tamsin Greenway joining the Hertfordshire side as Head of Strategic Performance.

With a mix of youth and experience in their ranks this time out, Saracens are hoping their new team can challenge for the Grand Final once more.

Last Season

So close yet so far. It was a bittersweet fifth place for Saracens Mavericks last season as they narrowly missed out on a play-off spot.

Mavericks charged out of the gates early in the season, with four consecutive wins including a brilliant 53-51 victory over local rivals London Pulse.

With equally strong performances throughout the season, they became a worthy opponent against the top teams, with a narrow 50-49 defeat to Team Bath showcasing their talent.

Signing Window

Mavericks saw a surge of new players during the signing window with a number of incoming internationals.

New Zealand’s Lisa Mather has traded the ANZ Premiership for the NSL when she was announced as a new signing for Mavericks from the Robinhood Stars.

South Africa’s Monique Reyneke-Meyer will also make her NSL bow this year after signing from Gauteng Golden Fireballs.

After losing Kadeen Corbin to Team Bath and Chloe Essam to Loughborough Lightning, Buchanan has also added the likes of Kira Rothwell, Ellie Kelk and Christina Shaw to her squad.

Star Player

Fresh from the 2023 Quad Series in South Africa, Ine-Mari Venter will be looking to impress on the court this year.

Venter shot 423 goals for Mavericks last term, ranking her tenth overall in the 2022 NSL season.

If you add in the fact that the shooter picked up a calf injury and subsequently played only 13 games from 20, her goal average is even more impressive.

With a home World Cup on the horizon this summer, Venter will be making her mark on the court for Mavericks as their star shooter.

One to Watch

An exciting talent that emerged in New Zealand, Mather will be a key part of the Mavericks mid-court this season.

The 23-year-old spent the previous three seasons as part of the ANZ Robinhood Stars and is currently on the Silver Ferns Pathway.

Able to pay centre or wing defence, her grit and determination as a player will be pivotal in getting the ball up the court and into her team’s strong shooting circle.

Bringing the Silver Ferns style with her, Mather will bring a new dynamic to the squad this season.

What They Said

Captain Sasha Corbin said: “For us, we are going to develop a whole new flavour.”

“The attack is going to be different, in defence we are going to be similar.

“It’s about building connections with each game. Our main goal is to get to that top four. It’s going to be a process; it’s new, it’s fresh, we have to learn but we have to learn quickly.

“Mavericks have come fifth in the last couple of seasons which has been so hard to take when you’re just that close. We want to get over that line.”

Coach’s Corner

Buchanan has stepped into the head coach role this season, previously holding the position of assistant coach.

The former NSL winner has been part of the Mavericks set-up since 2008 and will be hoping to mould her fresh-faced team into a top-four side.

“We are ready and raring to go,” she said.

“We have talked in-house about expectations that we have.

“This season is very much about a journey, because there has been a lot of change so we have a core group of existing players but new players coming in and learning a new way.

“I have been really realistic about this year; this is my first season as head coach and we are learning a new way but we are a very competitive group.”

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