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Five things to watch out for at the 2023 Season Opener

Signings made, pre-season played and netballs at the ready – it’s finally the start of the 2023 Netball Super League.

Nottingham’s Motorpoint Arena will play host to a thrilling day of netball as all ten NSL teams band together for the 2023 Season Opener.

Following a dramatic signing window, fans can expect exciting new squads and some tantalising matchups as the battle to be crowned NSL champions begins.

Here are five things to watch for during the opening day of action.

Team Bath Netball v Loughborough Lightning: Battle of the giants

Bath versus Lightning is always a lethal combination.

Both teams snagged a top four spot last season, Lightning finishing runners-up in the Grand Final to Manchester Thunder with Team Bath coming in third.

And they will kick off the NSL season against each other at 11am on Saturday.

Bath fell to two defeats against Lightning last season but have a secret weapon up their sleeve this time round in defence ace Jayda Pechova.

The 18-year-old rising star will face experienced shooter Mary Cholhok in the circle in what will be one of the biggest challenges of her young career.

Cholhok has been the staple shooter for Lightning in the past few seasons but will be challenged with Pechova a mobile, dynamic defensive presence.

You can catch all the action on Sky Sports Main Event, Sky Sports Arena and Sky Sports YouTube from 11am on Saturday.

Surrey Storm v Strathclyde Sirens: Fine margins

The most northern team in the NSL will face the most southern on Saturday lunchtime.

And if last season is anything to go by, strap in for a tense thriller.

Both teams took one victory apiece in 2022, with each match decided in the final few moments of play.

Sirens struck first with a 59-57 victory before storm reversed the score with a 55-52 win.

Storm have since added the towering talent of Layla Guscoth, Sophie Drakeford-Lewis and former captain Hannah Knights to their roster and will be drawing side eyes from netball fans everywhere as they embark on their first game of the season.

Centre pass is at 12.45pm and you can watch it all on Sky Sports Arena, Sky Sports Mix and Sky Sports YouTube.

Saracens Mavericks v Severn Stars: New coaches debut their new squads

Camilla Buchanan and Jo Trip are ready to go head-to-head for their first matches in charge of their respective teams.

Saracens Mavericks and Severn Stars have both revamped their squads for 2023 and will be venturing on a journey of discovery this season.

Trip will pull on her dress for the first time after two years out of the game , holding the title of player-coach at Stars.

She will be looking to mould her new and young team into a match-winning side following their eleventh-place finish in the 2022 NSL.

Mavericks claimed a 58-44 victory over Stars last time out but with Gabby Marshall ready to shake things up, making her Stars bow against her old team of Mavericks, this one should be cracker.

Centre pass is at 2.30pm live on Sky Sports Arena and Sky Sports YouTube.

Leeds Rhinos v London Pulse: Clarke and McDonald take centre stage

Trading the north for the south, Jade Clarke will make her London Pulse debut against none other than former club Leeds Rhinos.

The 39-year-old made her England bow in 2002 and has only continued thrive on court as one of the sport’s true stalwarts.

And she is set for a midcourt tussle with a Rhinos signing who has captured the imagination.

Elle McDonald made the switch from Adelaide Thunderbirds to Leeds Rhinos this summer and has since made her Vitality Roses debut during the Netball Quad Series in South Africa.

London Pulse made the top four for the first time ever last season and will be looking to match and exceed such success this year.

You can catch all the action at 4.15pm on Sky Sports Arena and Sky Sports YouTube.

Manchester Thunder v Celtic Dragons: The champions return

Celtic Dragons and Manchester Thunder will clash in the final game of the Season Opener on Saturday and both have points to prove.

Dragons will aim to start their season on the front foot, with only three wins from 20 in 2022, whilst Thunder will have all eyes on them as defending champions.

Dragons caused a scare for the undefeated Manchester Thunder last season in a dramatic 59-50 clash in Wales.

Thunder finished the match on top but were pushed all the way by tenth in the table Dragons, who will hope for a similar performance.

Round off the day from 6pm on Sky Sports Arena and Sky Sport YouTube.


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