2021 VNSL Season preview: Manchester Thunder

WITH the Vitality Netball Superleague (VNSL) season around the corner after a yearlong hiatus due to the COVID-19 enforced cancellation in 2020 Draft Central takes a look at each team, player lists and expectations. The next side to go under the hammer is Manchester Thunder who have tasted plenty of success in recent times.

With multiple premierships under their belt the Thunder will be eager to emulate their dominance of the past couple of seasons and keep the good times rolling. Boasting some impressive young talent a couple of experienced heads the reigning premiers given the 2020 season was called off have plenty to prove in their upcoming campaign.

2021 expectations/predictions:

The Thunder are renowned for their silky ball movement and overall dynamism across the court, a couple of traits they will be hoping to replicate once again. Inside the goal circle the Thunder have a plethora of options with Malawian goal shooter Joyce Mvula likely to spearhead the attack. With a commanding hold and impressive athleticism Mvula has the skills to dominate and score quickly making her a real threat for the Thunder once again in season 2021. Through the midcourt Manchester are brimming with talented options such as the ever consistent Laura Malcolm who has proven to be a crucial cog with her defensive nous and quick hands. Malcolm is able to rotate through centre, wing defence and wing attack and have a profound impact alongside the likes of Caroline O’Hanlon who is an incredibly experienced head. O’Hanlon can dictate the flow of the game with her calming nature, decision making and overall play to work the ball down the court and flick between speed and precision. Amy Carter is also a viable option in the midcourt, able to bring that defensive element to the fore and win ball back.

Defensively the Thunder will look to the likes of Emma Dovey to lead the charge with her tenacity and fancy footwork set to take centre stage.Loreen Ngwira is another familiar face set to return for the Thunder and aiming to impose herself with her long arms, defensive pressure and quick thinking while Rebekah Airey and Elia McCormick are other options able to rotate through the back third.

Player to watch:

With a number of talented players across the court, one player that will be keen to add to her continued exposure is goaler Eleanor Cardwell. She is a highly versatile shooter that can seamlessly transition between goal shooter and goal attack thanks to her overall read of the play and netball smarts to alter her game accordingly. Cardwell boasts a good mix of strength and deceptive speed able to dart into the circle when needed or hold her space under the post to be a commanding figure. She has quick hands and most importantly is accurate, able to keep the scoreboard ticking over at a solid rate to keep her side afloat. She can single-handedly hold down the fort inside the circle or dish off well-weighted and cleverly executed passes to teammates in more damaging positions.

Team list:

Rebekah Airey
Eleanor Cardwell
Ella Carly Standring
Amy Carter
Emma Dovey
Laura Malcolm
Elia McCormick
Joyce Mvula
Loreen Ngwira
Caroline O’Hanlon
Lois Pearson
Emilia Roscoe
Berri Samara Neil
Millie Sanders
Alicia Scholes

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