2022 VNSL team review: Celtic Dragons

IN the wake of the 2022 Vitality Netball Superleague (VNSL) season finishing, we have taken a look back at how each team fared. We continue the 11-team countdown with the 10th placed Celtic Dragons, who finished ahead of Severn Stars on goal difference.


Position: 10th
Wins: 3
Losses: 17
Goals For: 955 (10th)
Goals Against: 1106 (8th)
Goal Difference: -151 (10th)
Points: 9


It took the Celtic Dragons six games to finally get a win, toppling the equally struggling Severn Stars. Though the Welsh side had some big losses, they also had a number of competitive efforts throughout the season. At one stage they lost four consecutive games by 11 goals or less, including a nine-goal defeat to Manchester Thunder. They broke through for a win against Leeds Rhinos and then pushed Loughborough Lightning all the way to go down by four. A three-goal loss to London Pulse followed by a six-goal win – again against Severn Stars – capped off their three-win season. With two one-goal defeats and a five-goal loss to Team Bath, it meant the Dragons had lost to the four finalists by less than 10 goals, a remarkable achievement.


Aside from claiming two wins against the last placed Stars, the Dragons also toppled Leeds Rhinos in a good weekend for the club in Round 13. They went on to narrowly fall short against Loughborough Lightning, but their four-goal triumph over Leeds Rhinos was one to savour. In a topsy-turvy game, the scores were level at half-time and the Dragons trailed by a goal at the final break, before piling on 16 goals to 11 in the last term to run out 55-51 winners. Shaquanda Greene-Noel was outstanding in defence once again, pulling in six intercepts, nine deflections, two rebounds and 11 turnovers, teaming up well with Annabel Roddy and Nia Jones back there. In attack, Georgia Rowe piled on 40 goals from 41 attempts, while Lefébre Rademan shot 15 from 17 of her own, and helped herself to 10 feeds.


The outstanding debut season of Greene-Noel was one to savour for the Dragons. The Trinidad and Tobago defender came into the VNSL and looked comfortable, going on to finish fourth in the league for intercepts with 48. She played 19 of a possible 20 games, and recorded 23 rebounds, 77 deflections and 97 turnovers, and whilst her penalty count was fairly high (244), Greene-Noel was a determined defender who was amongst her side’s best each week despite the mounting losses. The 26-year-old would have gained plenty of experience for future international matches.


Greene-Noel’s partner-in-crime in Roddy was touted as a potential bloomer this season, crossing from reigning premiers Loughborough Lightning after just six games in two seasons at the title contender. Though she had nowhere near the wins, Roddy played 19 matches and became a stable at goal defence. She picked up 27 intercepts, 41 deflections, 50 turnovers and 15 rebounds, and was considerably low for penalties with 154.


The Celtic Dragons actually have some good talent across the board, particularly from a youth perspective. They lacked that experience, and could arguably do with another midcourter, but the extra minutes put into the likes of Roddy, Rowe, Shona O’Dwyer and Laura Rudland will pay dividends in the long-term future.

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