2023 NSL | Grand Final preview: One last challenge

AFTER 20 rounds and two semi-finals, it has finally reached the big day. The Grand Final of the 2023 Netball Super League season.

Tonight will see a top two clash between the London Pulse and the Loughborough Lightning. If the Pulse win, it will be an inaugural title. If the Lightning win, it will be a second title in three years after winning the cup in 2021.


These two come into the clash as two sides who have spent much of the 2023 season up the top end of the Super League table.

London Pulse may have finished a game clear of the Lightning as minor premiers, but the Lightning actually finished as the highest scorers in the league this season, and with a goal difference that was 13 goals better than the Pulse’s.


Between these sides this season the combined margin of their two meetings is nine goals, so history suggests today’s match will be tight. Despite Loughborough getting the better start back in Round 9, the Pulse turned things around and went on to win by six goals.

Chelsea Pitman and Funmi Fadoju both played a starring role for the Pulse in that clash, while Fran Williams and Hannah Joseph were among the best for Loughborough that day.

The second time around was only a few weeks ago and was even tighter. That day the Pulse won by only three goals to cement their minor premiership and seal a home semi-final.

Fadoju again starred for the Pulse, as did Berri Neil, while Mary Cholhok also had a great game for the Lightning.


Unsurprisingly, both sides have plenty of key players that they will be looking at to star and get their team over the line.

These two teams both have a goal shooter who are among the best in the league this season. Cholhok and Olivia Tchine have both been rocks under the post for their respective sides this season, and are key targets in their respective sides’ forays into attack.

However, both sides have strong defensive ends that the attackers will need to navigate. Fudoju is strong in the air, while Williams and Alice Harvey are tall and strong, and also smart with their game sense.

Both sides also have a centre that is strong and smart, and not to be underestimated. Both Jade Clarke and Natalie Panagarry are smart, quick and unafraid of a fight, and should not be underestimated.


The London Derby is not the only entertainment at the Copper Box today. Before the Pulse and Lightning battle it out the Storm and Thunder will battle it out to see who finishes third in 2023. With both sides beating the other once this season and with a combined margin of the two games at 15 goals, this match really could go either way.

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