McDonald to add midcourt spark to Rhinos

LEEDS Rhinos continue to make massive moves on the court as the Vitality Netball Superleague (VNSL)’s newest franchise looks to make waves in 2023. Under new coach Liana Leota, the Rhinos have certainly made a splash thus far this off-season, bringing in plenty of experience for next year. The latest name to add to that list is Australian talent Elle McDonald, who crossed from the Adelaide Thunderbirds in the Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) but also spent time at the Melbourne Vixens and worked her way up through the Netball Victoria pathways.

The signing of midcourter McDonald – who typically plays wing attack but can roll into the centre – is the 10th of the off-season for the Rhinos under Leota, with six of them being new recruits. Alongside the Australian national league experience of McDonald, the Rhinos announced the signing of ANZ Premiership experienced shooter Ellie Bird. From across the VNSL, the Rhinos also brought in shooter Paige Reed (Severn Stars), defender Millie Sanders (Manchester Thunder), Sanders’ Thunder teammate Caroline O’Hanlon, and fellow international captain Nia Jones (Celtic Dragons).

McDonald said it would be an exciting stage in her career being involved in a new environment and stepping out on court with so many new faces.

“I am really pleased to be joining Leeds Rhinos this season and I can’t wait to get over to the UK to meet everyone and I think the team that Liana and the club have put together are super exciting and I am looking forward to getting started with training with everyone and seeing what we can produce on the netball court,” McDonald said via Leeds Rhinos website.

“I’ve heard amazing things about the Vitality Netball Superleague and Leeds Rhinos in particular so I am looking forward to meeting all the fans when I get over to the UK and I also think having Liana as coach is going to be unreal.  I know as a midcourter myself there will be so much to learn from her and I’m ready for the new challenge and seeing what this team can do in 2023.

“I know Leeds Rhinos are a relatively new club and are striving for success.  I am a competitive person on and off the netball court and I like to win, so I think this is an amazing opportunity for us as players to drive those high standards and aim for success and hopefully we will pave the way for future Rhinos and really start to build on creating a rich successful history for the club.”

Leota said she was excited to bring in McDonald after she impressed her in the Suncorp Super Netball.

“Elle is an exciting player who I have been keeping an eye on for some time and I am grateful that she has chosen to come to the Rhinos,” Leota said. “She has played for Adelaide Thunderbirds for the last two years and can play across all three midcourt positions so that’s a huge thing for us.  “I am delighted to be able to bring that Aussie flavour and style into our team and see how we can use it.”

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