2022 VNSL team review: Saracens Mavericks

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 fifth placed Saracens Mavericks, who started the season really strongly, but due to in-continuity with the lineup, were unable to sustain their form in the second half of the year and finished fifth, a couple of wins off the pace.


Position: 5th
Wins: 9
Losses: 11
Goals For: 1071 (5th)
Goals Against: 1073 (7th)
Goal Difference: -2 (5th)
Points: 27


Saracens Mavericks started the season on-song, picking up four consecutive victories, including a vital two-goal win over London Pulse, whilst also defeating Wasps Netball, Celtic Dragons and Severn Stars. The Mavericks suffered their first loss of the season against Manchester Thunder, then went down to the other undefeated side in reigning premiers, Loughborough Lightning. They got back on track against Strathclyde Sirens to be 5-2, before back-to-back heartbreaking two-goal losses to Surrey Storm and Leeds Rhinos had the Mavericks teetering on the edge. They knocked off the Wasps, Dragons and Stars to move to 8-4, but then the wheels fell off. They remained competitive, but lost seven of the next eight games to go from almost certain finalists to fifth spot. On that run, they lost to the Pulse, Team Bath, Lightning and Sirens by single-digit margins. They kept their finals hopes alive with a bounce back four-goal win over the Storm, before suffering three consecutive losses to end the season and finish fifth for the second consecutive year.


As hindsight would prove, the Round 3 victory over London Pulse would be the biggest scalp the Mavericks took in the season, running out two-goal winners. The Mavericks dominated the first and third quarters to lead by as much as 13 goals at the final break, before the Pulse roared to life in the final term to come within two goals. Luckily for the home side, they managed to hold on, coming away with the 53-51 victory. Goal keeper Razia Quashie was sensational in defence, leading the way with four intercepts, three deflections and six turnovers, while Gabriella Marshall (two intercepts, three deflections, three turnovers and three feeds) did a bit of everything across the court from wing defence. In attack, it was South African international Ine-Mari Venter (43 goals from 49 attempts and five rebounds) who did the bulk of the damage, while Kadeen Corbin scored 10 goals from 13 attempts, had 11 feeds, one rebound and three deflections.


There were so many to pick from at different points for the Mavericks, but one who stood out was the experienced Kadeen Corbin. Shooting at an accurate 86.38 per cent, the regular goal attack not only provided a scoring threat (and an accurate goal shooter when called upon to be one), but also fed through to the likes of Venter and Britney Clarke. Corbin recorded 221 feeds for the season, as well as one more goal compared to the previous season (241-240), along with 17 rebounds, 22 intercepts, 25 deflections and 29 turnovers.


Quashie’s case to be included in the Roses continues to grow, and the 23-year-old seems to be heir apparent to Geva Mentor, providing a consistent shining light for the Mavericks this season. She recorded 39 intercepts, 44 deflections, 58 turnovers and five rebounds across 16 games, becoming an incredible two-way defender, being accountable and providing offensive drive from the last line.


Saracens Mavericks are always a threat, and have now come agonisingly close to finals two years running.If they can keep the team together, they have strong options up either end of the court, with perhaps an additional midcourter just required to complete the overall lineup. They have some youth to continue to develop, and look like a side who can do some damage long-term, it will just be when it all clicks for them.

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