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Shadine van der Merwe returns for third season at Manchester Thunder

Credit: Ben Lumley

South African stalwart Shadine van der Merwe has confirmed she will return for her third season back in black and yellow. A key member of the Manchester Thunder defensive unit, van der Merwe is the final signing in a defence full of experience alongside Kerry Almond, Ella Bowen and Josie Huckle.

Despite a couple of frustrating seasons interrupted by injury, van der Merwe has shown her quality on court and has become a highly influential figure in the dressing room. .

Following an intense Netball World Cup on home soil as part of the South African squad in Cape Town, the dominant defender is enjoying some downtime before joining up with the Thunder squad. And with a load management programme in place, head coach Karen Greig will be looking to get the best out of the South African this season.

Asked about her experience in Cape Town, van der Merwe said, “The World Cup was just amazing. I think being able to represent your country on home soil is really special and the fact my friends, my family and my brothers were there, my heart was really full. When we stepped on the court, the fans were very loud, so the experience was amazing, not just for South Africa but for netball in Africa, and it was a great experience.”

Looking back on the season, she said: “It was exciting, compared to the last so-called perfect season, I still really enjoyed this year because I had Lenize [Potgieter] with me all the time and we shared a house so that was nice having a South African friend with me. But on court, most of the girls have gone through the Manchester Thunder pathway and that helped a lot as everyone just knew how Thunder plays. Even though we didn’t win, we still got a bronze medal which was a good ending, showing we are still in that top four position. Even though people underestimated us at the start of the season, it was nice to know that we showed there is a Thunder way.”

“What I really enjoy about the Netball Super league is how it has developed over the years and how it has got more competitive. So many England Roses players deciding to stay and play in the UK is a big boost and a positive for the league and there are a lot of youngsters coming through which is exciting.”

Head Coach and Franchise Director, Karen Greig commented: “I’m delighted to welcome Shadine back to Thunder. After two seasons with us she has really cemented herself as a crowd favourite with her dogged style of defence and ability to win ball in critical moments. Shads was a great addition to the leadership group last season as we continued to evolve our Team culture. I’m looking forward to having Shadine back with us in Manchester soon.”

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