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Manchester Thunder

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Leeds Rhinos

Match Details

12th March 2022
Round 7
AO Arena
Report Stats

Match Results

Watch On: Broadcaster Logo

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First Centre Pass

Jade Clarke
Jade Clarke Leeds Rhinos View profile

Team Stats

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Awesome arena performance from unbeaten Thunder takes charge of derby rivals Rhinos with 8th win in a row

As Netball Manchester Live 2022 swept its way through the Arena, Manchester Thunder made the most of the electric atmosphere of nearly 5,000 fans with a dazzling display of defense and scintillating shooting to finish the battle of the Roses with Leeds Rhinos with a confident score line of 69-45.

After watching Pathway U21 secure a win and the Mike Greenwood trophy, a fitting tribute to an ex-Thunder coach who inspired generations of netballers, both the audience and Thunder Superleague players were pumped and raring to go. The lights go down as the music went up and Thunder rumbled across court ready for action. They came off the blocks like a steam train and the speed of play made one wonder just how someone was going to stop, or even slow them down.

With a domineering first quarter of 21 goals to Rhino’s 8, Thunder had made their intentions very clear. From Eleanor Cardwell’s unorthodox shooting to Joyce Mvula not afraid to jump into danger for any ball, goals continued to flow. At the other end of court, defenders Kerry Almond and Shadine van der Merwe were about as tight and neatly in place as their knee wraps. Considering today was only van der Merwe’s third game with Thunder, Shadine worked seamlessly with seasoned Almond who is playing better than ever in her 13th season. A last second goal from Joyce Mvula that circles the ring before being netted, delights the crowd as Thunder enter half time with almost double Rhinos goals at 34 – 18.

Captain Laura Malcolm commented that Thunder were being wasteful with turnovers by not converting them, so that was to be their focus in the second half.
Thunder continued to strike at speed, with a quick release down the court whilst Rhino’s, who also played yesterday, were starting to flag. Sharp shooter Sigi Burger had a few missed opportunities and didn’t seem to fight for the ball from Almond but whilst she was trying to settle herself, Thunder continued to oppress in every position. There is little more Rhino’s can do against a team of this calibre other than limit the damage and so, in the final quarter, Leeds Rhino’s managed to do what just two other teams have managed to do and stop Thunder getting to their 70th goal that has become more almost typical for Thunder now.

Shadine van der Merwe was in total control, almost commanding the game play with her intercepts and deflections that ultimately led to a final score of 69-45 gave the large crowds of Thunder and Rhinos fans around the arena a true spectacle of top-class netball.

Head Coach Karen Grieg said: "We came out like a steam train in that first quarter, defensively I thought we were phenomenal. Shadine was incredible after only her 3rd game back after a long layoff. Not too happy how we finished the game, getting a little sloppy but something to work on. I’m really proud of how our girls performed today, certainly asked more questions of us which we go back to the drawing board. We’ve got a tough game against London Pulse who are riding high so more hard work to go this week."

Player of the match was Shadine Van de Merwe, who said this about the game:

"Felt really good, playing in the arena is brilliant for the Thunder fans and feeling that energy. I told myself I was going to try and stay on my feet this time. It’s an unexplainable feeling, such a great environment to know my teammates have got my back and being in that winning culture and things to work on for the rest of the season."

Match report provided by Manchester Thunder.

You can watch the highlights from all the games in the VNSL 2022 season HERE. Buy tickets to support Manchester Thunder at their home games here and support Leeds Rhinos at their home ground by buying tickets here.

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