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International Series: A festive wrap up

With Santa set to make an appearance less than a week away now, we thought it would be a good idea to catch you up on all of the International series that happened during this month, before the big day arrives!

Curtain Raisers

London Pulse faced the Northern Ireland Warrirors on the final day of the England test series against South Africa.

The young side saw a close fixture against a team who also had NSL representatives amongst it. Niamh Cooper, soon to be of Severn Stars, battled in the mid-court against new London Pulse WA/ GA, Brie Grierson. The pair who are familiar with one another on the netball court fought hard to keep and win ball for their sides.

Rising talent and London Pulse defender Izzy Phillips made her mark in the defensive circle, winning ball on rebounds and intercepts galore. Her strength behind the ball and added pressure on the Warrior’s passing allowed her to gain more ball for her team.

After a tight final quarter, and the Warriors fighting their way back, London Pulse managed to claim the victory by just five goals. A great fixture to get the fans warmed up for the series as well as preparing for their NSL2024 season campaign!

England’s Vitality Roses vs South Africa’s SPAR Proteas

After a thrilling start to the series, with both teams taking one win each, it all came down to the third and final fixture. Game one which was taken by the Vitality Roses saw the team make their home return with a narrow three goal win in front of a record crowd at the AO Arena in Manchester. With a whole host of NSL stars representing their country, the next two games were going to be extremely exciting to watch.

Game two had changes to the South African starting line up which worked in Head Coach’s Norma Plummer’s favour as her team swiped the second victory by two goals at the Motorpoint Arena in Nottingham. This was the Proteas first win away against the English side since 2019.

The final test saw both teams jump straight out the blocks and fighting for every ball. In the English attacking circle, London Pulse star Berri Neil was formidable in her shooting accuracy, scoring at any opportunity she was given.

SPAR Proteas and soon to be Cardiff Dragons mid-court star Khanyisa Chawane’s ball speed and movement complimented her attacking partner of Saracens Mavericks shooter Ine-Marí Venter extremely well. The wing attack finished the second game with the joint-most feeds from across the game with 23, made two pick-ups and continuously putting relentless pressure on England’s defence. Her third game performance was outstanding, feeding her shooters beautifully.

Another London Pulse star and rising talent Funmi Fadoju started the third game in the goal defence position, partnered with former Loughborough Lightning star Fran Williams in at goal keeper. Fadoju’s elevation was a sight to behold as her reach stretched to win ball off a single standing jump.

The game finished with a thrilling ending, with the Vitality Roses cinching the victory, 53-50 in the final few minutes. A huge congratulations to all of our NSL athletes who played in this series; we can’t wait to see what they bring to NSL2024!

England Head Coach, Jess Thirlby said: “We’ve got an incredibly talented, exciting group that are already showing signs how to grind out wins, even when it might not be perfect but I’m really excited about the potential.”

“We were very excited to be playing back in front of a home crowd… We want to make the crowd proud and just embrace these moments.”

Northern Ireland Warriors vs ROI Emeralds

The final series to take place this month was the Northern Ireland Warriors vs the Republic of Ireland Emeralds, held at the Ards Blair Mayne Wellbeing and Leisure Complex in Belfast. Amongst the 15 selected for the Warriors, were four NSL athletes who took to court and impressed spectators with their flair and passion for the sport. The Warriors took the series 2-0 and we cannot wait to see some of these players in NSL2024.

Netball legend Caroline O’Hanlon captained her side to victory in this series. A first match win of 55-37 and the second game score being 53-36, O’Hanlon showed her leadership skills when on court, encouraging her team mates to attempt to win ball at every opportunity and strive to perform the best they could. The Leeds Rhinos centre is set to make a return in 2024 and fans can’t wait to see her back on court.

Super sisters Emma and Michelle Magee who have both signed for Leeds Rhinos next season were fan favourites of the tournament. Emma’s shooting capabilities did not go unnoticed as she helped her side get the victory in the first out of the two fixtures. Michelle’s defensive prowess was also on display as she won ball off rebounds and stunning interceptions through the court. Her performance stood out amongst the rest as she received the Player of the Series award. The sisters are definitely going to be players to watch next season.

Niamh Cooper, who also featured in the curtain raiser match, was back with her team in Ireland putting on yet another stellar performance. The WD assisted her side to the win in both games, creating opportunities for her attack to score from her intercepts.

What’s coming soon?

Vitality Netball Nations Cup –

The Vitality Netball Nations Cup is due to take place in January at the OVO Arena, Wembley and the First Direct Arena in Leeds. England’s Vitality Roses, the Ugandan She Cranes, Australian Diamonds and the Silver Ferns will all come together over four days in the new year to battle it out for the title.

The Vitality Roses have already announced the squad who will be representing at the tournament. Amongst the strong 14 selected, 10 NSL stars will be gracing the court with their presence and kick off the new year with a bang, with the hopes of exciting fans for the Season Opener just one month later.

You can secure your seats to this unmissable event here.

Netball Super League Season Opener

The Netball Super League Season Opener is less than two months away and we’re so excited to get the season started!

With all ten teams competing at Nottingham’s Motorpoint Arena on Saturday 17 February 2024, who will come out top in their first match of the season?

With only a handful of tickets left, why not secure yours today to be sure to see your favourite team on court and start their new season campaign with a bang! Get them here.

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

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