2023 NSL Season Preview: Loughborough Lightning

THE 2023 Netball Super League (NSL) season is just around the corner, and clubs and fans alike are gearing up for another exciting season.

After an eventful off season the 10 NSL clubs are ready to go for another year, and to prepare for the season, Rookie Me Central is going around the league and take a look at where each of the clubs sit ahead of the new season.

In the penultimate team preview, it is off to the East Midlands to check in with the Loughborough Lightning.

After reaching the ultimate highs of winning the title in 2021, Loughborough almost achieved a rare feat in sport last year and earned back-to-back titles. Unfortunately for the Lightning, they fell narrowly short of the achievement, going down to Manchester Thunder in last year’s NSL Grand Final.

However, with the squad they have heading into 2023 there is no reason to suggest they will not be the mark again this year, so the question is can they put the pain of last year’s loss behind them and bounce back?

The Lightning have kept a relatively similar squad to their 2022 one, with many of the changes they have made surrounds their training partners. Captained by Natalie Panagarry, the Lightning’s off-season has seen them bring back a returning face, with Jasmin Odeogberin returning to the Midlands from the Pulse.

Rhea Dixon has also come across from Leeds, while Molly Hole and Bella Bayliss have come across from Bath and the Mavericks respectively as training partners. They join returning training partners Alex Johnson and Clara Miles on the training partner list for 2023.

Of those continuing on from last season, some have had a huge offseason on the international scene and will certainly be looking to continue that momentum heading into this season. Namely Alice Harvey, who made her Roses debut over the break and impressed in her seven caps across several series.

Then there is the likes of Mary Cholhok, who will be looking to have a solid 2023 NSL season as she gears up for a big World Cup campaign with Uganda later this year. The 2023 additions have meant Jess Haynes and Kelsie Taylor have both left for Severn, while Ella Clark, Georgie Brock-Taylor and Hannah Williams have also left the club.

There is an injury query heading into the season surrounding Beth Cobden though. She was meant to play several tournaments for the Roses in the offseason but did not due to injury, and many are questioning what the extent of her injury is.

Loughbourough Lightning Squad 2023

Hannah Williams, Jas Odeogberin, Fran Williams, Zanele Vimbela, Natalie Panagarry, Emma Thacker, Suxie Liverseidge, Clara Miles, Alex Johnson, Hannah Joseph, Alice Harvey, Molly Hole, Bella Baylis, Mary Cholhok, Beth Cobden, Rhea Dixon

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