2024 Netball Super League Preview – Manchester Thunder
THE 2024 Netball Super League season is almost upon us, and to celebrate the build up to the season, Rookie Me Central will be previewing each of the 10 competing teams and seeing how this year might unfold for them.
It is the halfway mark of the preview series, and today’s team is the Manchester Thunder.
Going off purely on the numbers, 2023 was a backward step for the Thunder.
But after going through the whole of the 2022 season undefeated and winning the title, it was always going to be near impossible to replicate those heights.
However they still finished third and recorded some big wins along the way, so last year was still a pretty successful year for the Thunder.
One thing that the Thunder bucked the league trend with is list turnover, or lack thereof in their case.
There were only four faces that left after last season, and four that came in.
The defence end has not changed from the 2023 squad. Shadine Van der Merwe, Josie Huckle and Kerry Almond worked seamlessly as a rotating trio last season, with Ella Bowen occasionally playing out front in wing defence, but Bowen will be one that is looking to lock down more consistent game time in 2024.
There has been a little bit of movement in the midcourt, but will hardly shake up the structure. Iona Christian has departed the club, but in her place comes the perfect replacement in Imogen Allison. Allison will give a huge injection of experience and leadership to an already pretty experienced Thunder midcourt, and will slot in seamlessly alongside Roses team mates Natalie Metcalf and Amy Carter. Her inclusion may spell trouble for Taylor McKevitt though, who has to work harder for consistent court time.
Moving through to the shooting end, and this is the area of the court that has seen the most change for the Thunder this offseason.
Lenize Potgieter is a big loss for the Thunder, but they have found a like for like replacement in her South African team mate van der Berg. The question will be, who partners her at goal attack?
Pearson is the obvious choice as the returning face who was first choice goal attack last year, but she is sure to have plenty of competition from the likes of Reed – who will want to make sure her move from the Rhinos was worth it – and Williams, who will want to prove that the Thunder picking someone so young for the main squad was the right choice.
Manchester Thunder 2024 Squad
Lois Pearson, Anya Williams, Paige Reed, Elmerè van der Berg, Amy Carter, Taylor McKevitt, Nat Metcalf, Imogen Allison, Ella Bowen, Shadine van der Merwe, Josie Huckle, Kerry Almond
Training Partners – Elia McCormick, Laura Malcom and Emma Rayner