The 2022 Vitality Netball Superleague season starts on Saturday with the traditional season opener weekend. Ten matches will be played across two days at Birmingham’s Resorts World Arena.
The 2021 Champions Loughborough Lightning will kick start the weekend when they face London Pulse with a midday centre pass. The new season will see the return of the home and away format. Fans will also be back in the stands supporting their favourite teams. There will be 19 rounds of the regular season to come with the play-offs and finals weekend.
The Dragons will be a whole new entity this campaign. Coach Dannil Titmuss-Morris has bought together some of her former players from her time at London Pulse. Lefebre Rademan has worked with Titmuss-Morris previously and is a player to watch out for. Annabel Roddy has also joined the Welsh outfit from Loughborough and will feature strongly this season.
Rhinos have decided to go with continuity this season along with strengthening in specific areas. Rhinos has added Amy Clinton and former Surrey Storm shooter Sigi Burger which will add some much-needed height to the circle. However, the Leeeds based club suffered a blow when Donnell Wallam announced she was returning to Australia.
Rhinos have also recruited former Manchester Thunder defender Rebekah Airey. New coach Tracey Robinson has joined the Yorkshire side and it will be interesting to see how she settles into her new role in the VNSL.
It has been a busy time for Pulse having recruited the Australian youngsters Tayla Honey and Sacha McDonald. Pulse have also snapped up Alicia Scholes and Berri Neil and one of the standout players of last season Jasmin Odeogberin.
Off the court the London side have brought in former Netball World Cup and Commonwealth Games winning coach Liosa Alexander as Performance Director.
In truth Pulse underperformed last campaign, but with Alexander at the helm, expect a much better Pulse side this season.
The 2021 Champions have kept things pretty much as you were, having retained the majority of their title winning side. However, they have added to the squad by bringing in two big defensive names. Zanele Vimbela and Fran Williams from Wasps are the names in question and look good acquisitions.
The biggest chance for the champions lies off the court with the shock announcement that sara Francis-Bayman is taking a temporary leave of absence. In her absence Victoria Burgess will step into the Director of Netball role.
Once again, this squad looks strong enough to mount another title winning challenge and will be extremely hard to beat.
Thunder were quick off the mark in the off season by bringing in some big new signings. The club have added Nat Metcalf, the current England Roses vice-captain and two times title winning player.
With an attacking force of Joyce Mvula and Elanor Cardwell and new additions Caroline O’Hanlon and Laura Malcolm, they look to have all areas covered.
Defensively the club have recruited former Adelaide Thunderbird Shadine van der Merwe to add Steele to their defence. Thunder will want to forget their semi-final loss to Team Bath in the semi-final and will go close.
Mavericks will want to push aside memories of a disappointing 2021 campaign. Interestingly mavericks have decided not to make changes and keep with the majority of last seasons side.
They have made one signing in the shape of Jameela McCarthy who is a newcomer to the VNSL. Much will be expected of shooter Ine-Mari Venter, who was South Africa’s best player in the recent Quad series.
Stars will be looking to turn their fortunes around in 2022 after a wretched 2021. The side returned only four wins out of twenty games and were always struggling.
This season they have strengthened in every area of the court. Summer Artman has joined from Team Bath along with Michelle Drayne from Pulse. Shooter Cat Tuivaiti has also signed for Stars as they will look to get a good start to their forthcoming campaign.
Sirens exceeded all expectations last season by registering ten wins, and narrowly missing out on a top four finish.
The return of experienced Scotland captain Claire Maxwell is a massive bonus for the club. The addition of Abby Tyrrell from Dragons looks a shrewd piece of business should also mean that Strathclyde will be more competitive this time around.
Storm had a disappointing 2021 season, winning only three games and picking up just nine points. Player-coach Mikki Austin will be looking to turn their fortunes around this season, however, there were signs towards the back end of last season that the Surrey based outfit were putting together more competitive performances.
The recruitment of Peace Proscovia from SSN side Southern Coast Lightning is proof of how ambition Storm want to be this season. The signing of the Ugandan shooter sent shook waves through the netball family. Along with improving youngsters Emma Magee and Sophie Kelly, the future looks bright for Storm.
Defender Alima Priest was one of Storm’s standout players last campaign and with the likes of Sophia Candappa, Yasmin Parsons and Frankie Wells to name but three, the future looks rosy.
At one stage last season, Bath looked guaranteed VNSL winners, but still had to settle for a second-place finish. The side remain largely unchanged from last season’s campaign and will be hungry for the chance to go one better this time around.
The loss of Eboni Usoro-Brown to Australia is a massive blow to Bath’s fan base. Team Bath have replaced Brown with the late signing of South African superstar Phumza Maweni. One of the best goal keepers in the world, Maweni should set the league alight. Along with captain Imogen Allison and England captain Serena Guthrie, this is a formidable looking line up.
Despite falling at the final hurdle in 2021, it would appear the same fate will not happen this season, with the side looking genuine contenders for the title once again.
Fans of Wasps have had a worrying few months, with the squad eventually announced very late pre season. Coupled with the worry of a large number of departures from the club and you can see why it isn’t the best build up ahead of this weekend.
Wasps finished the 2021 season with ten wins, performing well below everybody’s expectations. The club have acted following last season’s disappointment by signing Lucy Parize from Lightning who should guide Waps back to their best.