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Sirens are sounding for 2024

Strathclyde Sirens have confirmed their full line up for the 2024 Netball Super League (NSL) season.

Amongst the 12 selected athletes, four returning players are set to take to court next season.

Returning

Emily Nicholl, Towera Vinkhumbo, Beth Goodwin and Cerys Cairns are all returning to the NSL in the Sirens stash.

Co-captain from the 2023 season, Emily Nicholl makes her return to Sirens. Head Coach MacDonald has praised Nicholl as a ‘fierce competitor’ and predicts that 2024 will be her best season yet.

Representing Scotland at the Netball World Cup in South Africa this summer, Nicholl had a strong performance on the international stage, and is expected to bring plenty of knowledge and experience to the court next season.

Leading the league in 2023 for interceptions and turnovers, Malawi international Towera Vinkhumbo also remains with the Scottish side. After a standout season for Sirens in 2023, Vinkhumbo went on to play a key role at the Netball World Cup in South Africa, helping Malawi to secure a 7th place finish at the competition.

Bethan Goodwin, another World Cup player for Scotland, also re-signs for Sirens. Praised for her versatility, Goodwin brings a range of options in the shooting circle for the Scottish side. And she is excited to make her return:

I CAN’T WAIT FOR THE SEASON AHEAD, IT’S ALWAYS AN HONOUR PUTTING ON THE SIRENS DRESS AND PLAYING IN FRONT OF OUR HOME CROWD.”

Goodwin will be joined in the shooting circle by compatriot Cerys Cairns who also travelled to South Africa this summer as part of Scotland’s World Cup squad.

Cairns is excited for challenge of the new season ahead and reflects on the characters in the upcoming squad: “I think we have a squad who are a mix of youth and experienced players who will push each other to be better.”

Head Coach Lesley MacDonald voices the excitement from the Sirens tribe: “They have been huge for Sirens over the last couple of seasons, huge individuals who are embedded into the Sirens DNA,”

MacDonald continues: “We will again be looking for them to step up this season both on and off the court to ensure we bring together this new look team.”

Rising talent

With the NSL pathway being a strong start for many young players, Sirens have this year elevated three names into their squad of 12.

Mid-courter, Emma Love has been elevated from training associate with Sirens Development in 2023 to 2024 squad member, after gaining experience in the Sirens environment last season. Love put on notable performances for Scotland at the Netball World Cup, with Head Coach Lesley McDonald delighted with her elevation to the squad: “I am excited to see what type of waves she can make this season.”

Cerys Finn, a young and dynamic defender, has also been injected from Sirens Development into the Sirens squad. Having been mentored by Sirens stalwart and Malawi international Towera Vinkhumbo, Finn impressed on her international  Netball World Cup debut this summer. Head Coach MacDonald adds: “I cannot talk highly enough of this individual; she is an exciting fearless young talent. Imagine having Towera Vinkhumbo as your mentor, can not wait to see her progress.”

Young shooter Zara Flett is in line to make her Netball Super League debut in the 2024 season, having competed for Sirens in the British All Stars Fast5 tournament in the summer. The GA/GS from Orkney impressed at the end of season competition for Sirens, with Head Coach McDonald looking forward to working with her in the season ahead.

Head coach Lesley MacDonald said:

“SIRENS DEVELOPMENT IS KEY TO THE FOUNDATIONS OF SIRENS, PROVIDING A PATHWAY FOR PLAYERS AND COACHES FOR US. OUR PATHWAY HAS SEEN SIGNIFICANT IMPROVED OVER THE LAST FEW SEASONS AND ITS EXCITING TO SEE SO MANY ATHLETES NOW CAPABLE OF COMPETING AT THIS LEVEL.”

New faces

Whilst continuing with home grown talent and returning players, Sirens have also introduced some new faces into their squad for 2024.

Hannah Leighton, who was part of the Dragons’ set up last year is one of the first five players to have made the move to Scotland. The 25-year-old originally from Walsall is also part of the Scottish Thistles, and is hoping her move to the Sirens will strengthen her connections within that squad. The versatile mid-courter made an impression in the 2023 season, making 206 feeds into her shooting circle.

Hannah showed her excitement about joining the team by saying:

“It feels so special to be a part of the only Scottish franchise. Their vision for what they want to achieve on and off the court is something I’m looking forward to being a part of. ”

The next name that Sirens released was Sesandile Owethu Ngubane (Sammy). The South African international star made her debut on the world stage at the 2023 Netball World Cup, proving her talent which will be injected into the 2024 NSL season. The 21-year-old shooter is set to make a significant impact to the Sirens squad, adding depth to their attacking unit.

MacDonald said: “Sammy is such an exciting young talent. She brings a different style and versatility to our shooting circle.”

Ngubane disclosed that she had a tough time starting out in netball, however, her love for the sport did not let that hold her back.

“I had a bad start with netball in primary school, but I didn’t let that stop me from trying again. I am proud of where I am now.”

22-year-old, Manchester born defender, Millie Sanders is hoping to bring more fight and determination to the Sirens defensive unit in 2024. Having three years experience of playing in the NSL under her belt, Sanders is excited to add yet another to her repertoire.

Millie won the NSL title with Manchester Thunder in 2022 and has most recently been named in the England Future Roses programme for a second time.

Sanders said:

“I’m really excited to play for Sirens in 2024 and develop my game even further. I can’t wait to get started with the girls and coaches, play in front of the amazing home crowd and be part of the Sirens tribe!”

Hannah Williams, formerly of Loughborough Lightning was the next name to be added to the Sirens squad for next year. At 23 years old, Williams made herself known in the netball industry from a young age, working her way up through the pathways and earning her spot in the NSL with Lightning in 2020. Her versatility in mid court sets her up for a good future at Sirens.

Coach Lesley MacDonald stated: “Hannah is a dynamic mid courter; great speed and vision. She can play multiple positions with great understanding of her role therefore will form a great attacking unit. Her exceptional speed and vision are sure to be assets on the court.”

The final name added to complete the final 12 for Sirens was newly announced mother to be, Iona Christian. After announcing her pregnancy in August, Christian was unsure whether she would be returning to court in 2024, but Sirens were there to support her at just the right time.

A big name in the netball world, not only from the NSL but the international stage too, Christian stands out from the rest with her determination on and off the court. Set to give birth in the early stages of 2024, Sirens are set to help Christian balance being a mother and full-time athlete.

On social media Iona shared: “Wow, this was an opportunity I didn’t expect this season! I’m so thankful to Sirens for the support they’ve shown me as I embark on this next adventure of becoming a mother. A big thank you in particular to Karen and Lesley for keeping the door open for me to potentially get back on court with this Sirens team in 2024! I’m also looking forward to having a slightly different role helping out and learning from the coaching team in the build up to what’s going to be a super exciting season!”

 

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A post shared by Iona Christian (@iona_christian_)

You can keep up to date with all the 2024 squads and signings here.

If you’re interested in learning more about the history of Strathclyde Sirens and their 2023 Super League campaign catch their Inside the Circle documentary episode here.

To keep up with the latest news, make sure to follow the @NetballSL on Twitter, Instagram and TikTok and subscribe to our newsletter. 

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