PLAYER signings came in thick and fast on Friday morning, with a couple of early confirmations putting fans at ease and nerves at bay with some key returnees announced.
The NSW Swifts continued their trend of announcing two at a time, with key defensive duo Sarah Klau and Maddy Turner signing on for two more seasons. The champion circle defenders have forged an unstoppable and formidable combination over the past few seasons, playing significant roles in the club’s finals resurgence and premierships in 2019 and 2021.
“I have loved playing for the Swifts since joining back in 2017 so I’m stoked to be on board for another two years,” goal keeper, Klau said. “It is not just what we’ve been able to achieve on the court, but the way we connect off it which makes it a special club to play for.”
“We haven’t had much of a chance to play at home so I felt it was only right to sign for another two years and get back out in front of our NSW fans and members after almost two full seasons away. “Winning another Premiership this year was amazing but now we’re excited to go back and defend our title on our home court.”
Turner added that getting to play alongside one of her best friends is “a pretty cool job to have”. The goal defence has 87 caps with the club since 2016, and is eyeing off the elusive 100 club in the red dress.
“What I love most about the Swifts is the culture and the inclusiveness both on and off the court … Getting to play with Sarah for another two years really excites me too. I think she is the best goal keeper in the world and she’s also one of my best friends so to play alongside her is a pretty cool job to have. “I never thought when joined back in 2016 that I’d have two titles and be close to playing 100 games for a club as prestigious as the Swifts. This team has allowed me make my dreams a reality.
“Winning titles only makes you hungrier for more and while we’ll have some changes in our team next year, we are ready to build on what we’ve achieved already.”
The Swifts defence has been whittled down to just the two though, with a second Swifts announcement confirming that Lauren Moore will not return to the club next season despite being offered another contract.
“I honestly love this club so much,” Moore said. “I have shared some of the best moments of my life with my Swifts teammates, coaches, staff members and fans over the past six years.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone at the club, its supporters and Netball NSW for supporting me to this point in my career and I feel so lucky to have been part of two title-winning campaigns.
“As you can imagine this was a decision I thought long and hard over and it’s been an exceptionally difficult one to make, but I feel it is the best one for me to take my game to the next level.”
Head coach Briony Akle thanked Moore for her time at the club, with the defender playing 37 games since her initial debut in 2016.
“We are obviously sad to see Lozzie go but we understand her decision and we respect it,” Akle said. “I have had the privilege of coaching her through the Netball NSW pathway right up to Swifts level and I’ve been hugely impressed by how she’s bounced back from big injury setbacks to establish herself as top level player.
“It doesn’t surprise me that Lozzie has had offers from other clubs and we all wish her the best for what comes next. She will always be a Swifts Premiership champion I’m delighted that we were able to achieve that during her time with us.”
Meanwhile, the Adelaide Thunderbirds made their first official signing, securing up and coming goal attack Georgie Horjus. Still only 20-years-old, Horjus is a cult favourite already with her accuracy, evasive movement and ability to control the flow of the game some of her standout traits. High Performance Manager Pitre Bourdon says the club is excited to announce Horjus’ return, showcasing the local’s talent and the great development pathway in South Australia.
“Georgie cemented her place in our starting seven in 2021, building on the potential we saw from her in 2020,” Bourdon said. “She is an incredibly talented local netballer with strong netball smarts and we’re very excited to see her continue to grow in the coming seasons. “Georgie is passionate about the club and playing for her state and we’re confident she will play a key role in our club’s future.”
In the first fresh signing ahead of 2021, Melbourne Vixens announced that training partner Rahni Samason has been elevated to the main squad for the first time. The exciting goal shooter played three matches for the Vixens during 2021 as an injury replacement player, earning the greatest reward for her effort.
“It’s such an honour and I’m really excited to officially join the Vixens next season,” said Samason. “I’ve been a part of the Vixens environment for a few years now as a squad member, and travelling with the team this year, so I know the club’s values are aligned to the culture I want to be a part of, so I’m thrilled to be a part of that next year.
“I’ve taken away a lot of learnings from my time, particularly this year being able to work with Simone and the team so closely. I know that we’re onto something pretty special in this next stage and I’m really excited to play my role in that.”
Meanwhile, Collingwood Magpies dropped a bombshell with their first big announcement of the signing period, snatching up goaler Sophie Garbin and elevating midcourter Maggie Lind in a huge move for the black and white. Head coach Nicole Richardson said she has been continually impressed by Garbin over past few seasons, while Lind has showcased plenty of determination in the pathways program to earn an official call-up.
“We’re so excited both for Sophie and Maggie,” Richardson said. “It’s been fantastic to see Soph’s confidence grow over the last few seasons and we think she’ll be a really strong asset for us under the ring. With the success she’s had with the Swifts and the Diamonds, we can’t wait to see her rise to this new opportunity.
“Maggie’s call up is a huge credit to her constant effort and commitment. We’re looking forward to seeing where she can take her game at the next level.”
Picture credit: Adelaide Thunderbirds via Twitter