PREVIEW | NSL 2024 Round 2 – Time to paint a clearer picture

AFTER an enthralling opening day of action, Round 2 has already crept up on us all.

Round 2 will be a good judge of where teams are at, and whether Round 1 was a truthful indicator of the season ahead or not.

Cardiff Dragons vs Manchester Thunder
Friday at 7pm GMT
House of Sport, Cardiff

The weekend’s action begins in Wales where the Dragons get to play in front of their home fans for the first time this season, against a Thunder side coming off a big win.

Despite not winning last week the Dragons will take a lot of confidence out of the game, but the Thunder will be another step up in difficulty.

The Dragons’ defensive trio of Leah Middleton, Jacqui Newton and Nia Jones were impressive in their seamlessness last week and can provide a real platform for their side, but will have quite the challenge this week getting through the Roses midcourt of the Thunder in Natalie Metcalf, Amy Carter and Imogen Allison.

Saracens Mavericks vs Leeds Rhinos
Saturday at 4pm GMT
Hertfordshire Sports Village

This is a big week for both the Mavericks and the Rhinos.

After less than ideal showings in Round 1, it is a big opportunity to pick up a win and make a statement about where their team is at in 2024.

One thing the Rhinos need to improve drastically this week is the way they feed their shooters Joyce Mvula and Harriet Jones, and they need to be more creative to set their shooters up for the best success. The Stars’ shooters were difficult to navigate last week, and Vicki Oyesola and Razia Quashie‘s strength in the air means the Rhinos have a similar challenge this week.

Surrey Storm vs London Pulse
Saturday at 6pm GMT
Surrey Sports Park

Similarly, it is also a big week for both the Storm and Pulse.

For both sides, last week went far from to plan so they will be keen to rectify that this week.

After an injury to Amy Flanagan last week, there is a lot of extra pressure on new captain Sophie Drakeford-Lewis this week, and having to battle Funmi Fadoju will not make things easier for her. Olivia Tchine will also be looking to lift her numbers a bit this week after not shooting close to her usual numbers last week.

Loughborough Lightning vs Team Bath
Saturday at 6pm GMT
Sir David Wallace Arena

This match up is looking more intriguing than it did after last week. Bath perhaps defied a few expectations last week, but face a much tougher task this week in the defending champions, so this will be a great indicator of where Bath truly sit this season.

Mary Cholhok is going to be the one that Bath have to focus on, but Jayda Pechova is someone used to tackling people of Cholhok’s quality. Up the other end, the battle between Alice Harvey and Kadeen Corbin will be intriguing too.

Severn Stars vs Strathclyde Sirens
Saturday at 6pm GMT
University of Worcester Arena

Last up this weekend is two sides square off that come into the match off very different Round 1 results.

The Stars will be pleased with how they performed in Round 1 against the Rhinos, while the Sirens will have come away from Round 1 with plenty of questions about what went wrong.

The Sirens will have to be clever with how they feed their shooters this weekend. Jo Trip and Jasmine Brown really showed their aerial prowess against the Rhinos, so the Sirens’ midcourters may have to go the low bounce pass route or something similar to Bethan Goodwin and Sesandile Ngubane.

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