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The International Colours of the Netball Super League

The Netball Super League is a beautiful and vibrant mosaic pieced together by the flying flags and cultural customs of 12 countries from all around the globe.

Behind every duck egg blue and vibrant yellow dress there is the national identity of a netball player and the colours of the country that they represent.

And with a dozen countries represented in the NSL, rounds 8 and 9 will be Show Your International Colours round, a celebration of the international diversity on show throughout the league.

Honouring identity, heritage and home, here are just some of the incredible stories from the NSL’s global talent.

Green and gold – Australia

While Sacha McDonald loves playing for London Pulse, in the off-season you cannot keep her away from Australia, or a netball court, for long.

After a 2022 season that saw London Pulse earn a top-four place for the first time in their history, the goal attack headed back home to Victoria.

While she was there, McDonald joined up with her old side Edenhope-Apsley to play some A Grade netball, where she took on more of a shooting role.

It has certainly paid dividends as she has missed only two shots this season, having already chalked up an impressive 86.6% success rate last term.

McDonald is yet to don the green and gold of Australia’s national team but has cut her teeth against her country’s best when playing for Melbourne Vixens in Super Netball.

White and Red – England

Loughborough Lightning’s Hannah Joseph was born to represent her country.

Joseph grew up in Derby and had what you would call a pretty sporty childhood, as her dad played rugby for Northampton Saints and her mother was a PE teacher.

And once netball found its way into her life, Joseph never let it go, choosing the netball court over the hockey pitch in her teenage years and making her senior debut for England back in 2016.

She has since gained nine caps since, following in the footsteps of older brother Jonathan, who appeared 54 times for England’s men’s rugby side between 2012 and 2020.

Joseph signed for Loughborough back in 2011 and is now one of their longest-serving players, bringing up 150 appearances at the start of 2023 and helping the team soar to their maiden NSL title in 2021.

White and Red – Jersey

Team Bath’s Lily Jones might be from a small island but she’s making a big impression on the netball court.

The young shooter started her netball journey with the Jersey U11s and worked her way up the Academy and Team Jets squad before crossing the channel to Bath.

After excelling as captain of Bath’s U19 squad, Jones was called up as a Team Bath training partner during the 2021 season

And her stunning skill and technique saw the shooter head into the NSL after impressing in training matches.

The 19-year-old soon became the first NSL netball player from Jersey since Serena Guthrie and was named the Channel Islands Sports Personality Rising Star of 2021 after her debut season.

Black, red and green – Malawi

Strathclyde Sirens’ Towera Vinkhumbo is the dazzling defender from Mawali.

The 32-year-old was born in Blantyre, Malawi, as the ninth of eleven children and joined the NSL in 2020.

Vinkhumbo was part of Malawi’s 2018 Commonwealth Games squad which pulled off one of the biggest shocks in the sport’s history by beating New Zealand 57-53.

And that came just four months after giving birth to her first child.

A stalwart of The Queens, the Sirens player has represented Malawi at four Commonwealth Games and three World Cups, also winning a bronze medal at the 2016 Fast 5 Netball World Series in 2016.

But representing her country at netball is not enough for Vinkhumbo, who is also one of Malawi’s top football stars, their youngest-ever international aged just 14.

Her first season with Sirens saw her named the league’s Players’ Player of the Season, and she backed that up in 2022, as she made 64 intercepts and 116 turnovers, putting her second on both stats tables.

Black, Silver and Red – New Zealand

Stars are the backbone of Jo Trip’s netball career.

The former New Zealand international traded the four stars of Aotearoa for the English shores in 2015 and is the current player-coach for Severn Stars.

Trip started her career in her native New Zealand, playing for ANZ sides Mainland Tactix and Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic as well as representing her country at U21 and New Zealand A levels.

Trip made the 11,000-mile journey away from her home to play for Loughborough Lightning and has since enjoyed spells at Surrey Storm, Saracens Mavericks and now Severn Stars.

One of several New Zealand players in the NSL, Trip shares career likeness with Leeds Rhinos boss Liana Leota, a Silver Fern with a rich native history of her own.

Red and white – Northern Ireland

After 13 seasons in the Netball Super League, Kerry Almond made her international debut for Northern Ireland.

Part of a select few to have been part of every single Manchester Thunder title win, Almond had long been thought of as one of the league’s top players to never play internationally.

But that all changed in September 2022, as she represented Northern Ireland in a friendly series against Uganda.

The defensive stalwart produced 99 deflections in 2022, the second-best in the league, also putting in 101 turnovers last season to sit inside the top five.

She is back for another season in 2023 having initially retired in 2019 before head coach Karen Greig persuaded her to have a change of heart.

Blue and White – Scotland

Emily Nicholl is a Scottish netball stalwart.

 

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Born in Biggar in South Lanarkshire, the goal defence has been an integral player for The Thistles throughout her netball career.

The qualified solicitor lit up the international netball scene almost immediately and was part of Scotland’s 2018 and 2022 Commonwealth Games campaigns.

And with one World Cup already under her belt, Nicholl is all set to head out to South Africa this year as part of the Thistles team for the 2023 World Cup.

The 28-year-old expanded her netball knowledge on a global level this summer, training out in Australia with West Coast Fever, and has since been named co-captain for her beloved NSL team Strathclyde Sirens.

But if she’s not on the netball court, Nicholl can most likely be found spending time with her family, whether that’s in the depths of Scotland’s nature or on the side of a loch.

Green, gold, white, red and blue – South Africa

Shadine van der Merwe dancing to ‘This Time for Africa’ was a viral moment last season, and now she has a partner in Lenize Potgieter.

The shooter made her international debut for the Proteas in 2014 having previously represented her province of Limpopo in the north west of South Africa.

The 28-year-old spent a season with Team Bath in 2016 before travelling around the world dazzling fans in New Zealand and Australia.

 

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In 2021, Potgieter returned home to South Africa and was diagnosed with major depression disorder, bravely opening up about her struggles.

Refreshed and ready to play again, Potgieter joined Thunder ahead of the 2023 season and has already notched 287 goals, the third-highest in the league.

She has also returned to the Proteas starting seven and will hope to represent South Africa as they host this year’s World Cup.

Red, white and black – Trinidad and Tobago

After one season in the Netball Super League, Shaquanda Greene-Noel had everyone talking.

She brought the Caribbean flare to Cardiff as the Trinidad and Tobago defender joined Celtic Dragons and was taken into the fans’ hearts, being voted Green Army Player of the Year.

It was not just her dancing antics that appealed to supporters, with Greene-Noel topping the charts for turnovers in 2022.

Greene-Noel is captain of the Calypso Girls, leading them at the 2022 Commonwealth Games before skippering the side as they qualified for the 2023 Netball World Cup.

For the 2023 season, Greene-Noel has kept up the same fun feeling while also being brought into the Dragons leadership group.

Black, yellow and red – Uganda

Ugandan players have lit up the league in recent seasons and the player so often leading the way has been Mary Cholhok.

The Loughborough Lightning star may seem like an imposing presence and standing at 2.01m, she is comfortably the tallest player in the league.

However, she has a quiet power off the court, using her voice to inspire girls and women back home in Uganda.

Cholhok and her family fled their home of South Sudan during the country’s civil war, settling in Uganda where the 26-year-old soon found a talent for netball.

The shooter joined Lightning in 2018 and made an immediate impact as she ended the season as the league’s top goalscorer, repeating the feat in 2021.

She is now one of the NSL’s most consistent performers and most recognisable stars, and proudly flies the flag for Uganda in everything she does.

Red, White and Green – Wales

Whether she’s playing as a feather or a member of the green army, Phillipa Yarranton is a Welsh force to be reckoned with.

The Wales international and Celtic Dragons player was coached in her early years by compatriot Nia Jones.

Jones made her Dragons debut in 2022 and was named Dragon of the Year by her teammates for a standout season.

Part of the newly named Welsh Feathers, Yarranton was a strong performer for her nation at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, receiving her first international cap before helping Wales to 2023 World Cup contention at the recent qualifiers.

Green, gold, black, red and white – Zimbabwe

There is just one Zimbabwean player in the league, but she is an important one.

Felisitus Kwangwa is a model in versatility as she can play across the three defensive positions for Surrey Storm and the Gems.

With Zimbabwe, Kwangwa made history, acting as their vice-captain as they made their debut at the Netball World Cup, finishing an impressive ninth.

She is now set to notch her second World Cup appearance in South Africa, as the world gets a front row seat to the passion of African netball.

Her prowess on the netball court comes from a background in athletics, while her strong nature was built when she worked as a correctional officer in a prison in Zimbabwe.

This season, Kwangwa has been influential in Surrey Storm’s strong start which sees them topping the table after eight games.

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