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Killer recruitment the key to top-four return for Gibson’s Saracens Mavericks

Saracens Mavericks captain Jodie Gibson is confident her side’s killer recruitment can propel them into Netball Super League top four.

Mavericks have been perennial bridesmaids in recent seasons thanks to five fifth-place finishes in the past six seasons leaving them watching rather than partaking in the end-of-season play-offs.

But Bury-born Gibson believes additions such as England star Ellie Rattu and last season’s Players’ Player of the Season Vicki Oyesola could be the difference to help the two-time champions finally extend their season for the first time since 2016.

“It feels like we have really stepped up a level and I really hope we are able to translate that onto court,” said Gibson. “The people we’ve recruited, they are winners.

“We have people who featured in the Grand Final last year, we have Vicki Oyesola the Players’ Player of the Year last season. 

“When you bring in that calibre of player, you are always going to elevate your standards and we have really welcomed that.

“We are not too shy to say we are here to finish top four this season. This season, with the calibre of players we have got, we are embracing that challenge.

“It is something that we have spoken about and been accountable to. We want to make top four, so let’s make sure we do that. 

“That’s the feeling in the group and it’s really exciting when you have a group of players who share the same aspirations, who know it is going to be hard work but are putting that hard work in and more.”

Mavericks have also recruited youngsters Emma Thacker and Peace Akinyemi as they continue their evolution under Camilla Buchanan, with Gibson now the most experienced member of the squad following Sasha Corbin’s retirement.


The 2018 Commonwealth Games champion hopes she can impart some of that wisdom on an otherwise largely youthful squad, with a particular focus on handling the big occasion ahead of the Hertfordshire-based side’s first-ever home game at Wembley Arena in April.

She added: “It is a huge honour to be in a leadership position but the way I lead is by making sure everyone has a voice.

“It is really important that my experiences are shared amongst the team but we have other players that have played in these arenas; Razia Quashie and Ellie Rattu have played at Wembley this year.

“The same as we are embracing the challenge of top four, we are definitely embracing Wembley and I can definitely impart some of my experiences on the other girls about just enjoying it.

“You have got to enjoy it, you have to enjoy those moments because it is where we want our sport to go. Let’s not shy away from them, let’s take them on.


“To play at an arena like Wembley, to say it out loud is a pinch me moment. I was in awe when I went to Wembley to watch the England game.

“Now it is about making sure we have people behind us to come and support that game and to make sure people want to come and watch us because they are seeing us put in performances that make people want to get onboard with our journey.”

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