2023 NSL | Round 19 preview: Season defining weekend

THERE is one fortnight left in the Netball Super League (NSL) for 2023. One fortnight left for teams to change the trajectory of their season.

This weekend is the last match for the Severn Stars in 2023, who after playing their Round 20 game back in February, only have one more match left this season.

They close out the weekend’s action with a match against the Leeds Rhinos at home. Last time these two sides met it was a narrow two-goal win to the Stars, so the Stars end their season on a high or the Rhinos can spoil the party. It was a battle of the midcourters last time around, with Elle McDonald, Caroline O’Hanlon, Gabriella Marshall and Jessica Shaw all starring, so will that be replicated on Saturday?

The weekend’s action begins however tomorrow night in Scotland with what some are calling The Celtic Clash, between the Sirens and Dragons. Neither of these sides can make finals, but will still want to finish the season on a high. This clash also has the potential to be tight, as the last time these two sides met it was a one-goal win to the Sirens.

The Sirens shooters Bethan Goodwin and Niamh McCall are going to have a tough task this week, trying to still have an influence in the game while up against Shaquanda Greene-Noel and Ella Powell-Davies, two defenders having great seasons and are always a tough proposition to come up against.

The first of a trio of matches on Saturday is in Manchester with the Thunder hosting the Mavericks. Although the Thunder will go into the match as favourites, this season has proven that some lower ranked sides can push the Thunder, so the Mavericks will be looking to be one of those sides.

The Mavericks’ task would be made a lot easier if Ine-Mari Venter is able to return to the squad this week, because she gives them that extra element of difference in the circle and is able to better match it with the likes of Josie Huckle. However they will be looking to Razia Quashie to quell the influence of Lenize Potgieter.

The middle game of the Saturday trio is a top of the table clash that may ultimately decide who finishes on top.

With the Pulse and Lightning to play the Mavericks and Bath respectively in the last round and only a five goal difference in each team’s goal difference, this week’s game is likely to play a huge part in who will finish top this season.

The two shooting circles are sure to provide plenty of fascinating battles. Up one end Mary Cholhok will have to watch out for the aerial ability of Funmi Fadoju, while up the other end Olivia Tchine will have to battle fellow Rose Fran Williams.

Netball Super League Round 19 Fixture

Strathclyde Sirens vs Celtic Dragons – Friday at 7:30pm – Sports Hall, Emirates

Manchester Thunder vs Saracens Mavericks – Saturday at 5pm – Belle Vue Arena

London Pulse vs Loughborough Lightning – Saturday at 6pm – Copper Box Arena

Severn Stars vs Leeds Rhinos – Saturday at 7pm – University of Worcester Arena

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