NETBALL: Mixture of signings signals a new era for Stars - The Worcester Observer

NETBALL: Mixture of signings signals a new era for Stars

Worcester Editorial 15th Oct, 2022   0

SEVERN Stars have taken the wraps of an exciting squad which combines youth and experience as it bids to make its mark in the Netball Superleague 2023 season.

The revamped squad reflects a new era for Stars as it begins its first season under the sole ownership of the University of Worcester. It includes a former Superleague champion and current and former internationals.

In attack, the line-up features South African international shooter Sigi Burger, who played for Leeds Rhinos last season. Burger, who has played for several teams in the Superleague since 2018, represented her country in the 2018 Commonwealth Games and the 2019 World Cup.

Fellow shooter Grace Namana, who has been playing in the New Zealand ANZ Championships, is also a new name to the line-up. A familiar face to Stars fans is Issy Eaton, who is re-signing for her third season, but will this time be studying Sports Coaching and PE at the University of Worcester alongside.

Sixteen-year-old Lily Smith completes the shooting line-up, joining from Wasps Academy’s Under-17s, where she played in the National Performance League. If selected, she would be making her Superleague debut.

In contrast, a new-look mid-court line-up features experienced Superleague player Gabby Marshall, who spent four seasons with Saracens Mavericks. She has represented England at Under-17, Under-19, Under-21 and senior level.

Sarah MacPhail, who has several seasons at Strathclyde Sirens under her belt and was in the Scotland national team that competed at the Commonwealth Games, has also signed.

Defensively, former University of Worcester student Lucy Herdman returns to Stars for her third season off the back of her selection in the mixed national team for England.

Alongside her is Rebekah Airey, who was in the victorious Manchester Thunder squad of 2019, but has also played for Loughborough Lightning and last season Leeds Rhinos. She has also represented England at Under-21 level.

Stars head coach Jo Trip said: “Focusing on a core of more experienced players in Sigi Burger, Grace Namana, Jess Shaw, Gabby Marshall, Bekah Airey and Lucy Herdman, I have surrounded them with a number of exciting fresh faces to the Superleague.

“The team is extremely dynamic and robust, with players that compliment each other, providing us with a number of different styles which we will explore and develop over the coming months.

“In a new era of netball for the Severn Stars franchise, we are looking forward to a change in direction.

“We have worked hard with our players to support their lives not only on the court, but off the court, which has been reflected by their commitment to our vision, with several players newly relocated to the local area.

“This allows us to develop with a more hands-on approach, increase connections both on and off the court, reduce travel time and fatigue across the season and will enable us to get the most out of this group,” she added.


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