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January 26, 2016 by Surrey Storm

2016 Vitality Netball Superleague Season Preview

Find out who will challenge Surrey Storm in their defence of the Superleague title starting this weekend as we take a look at their VNSL 2016 rivals alongside Sky Sports and our very own Pamela Cookey.

Click here to watch Pamela's interview with Sky Sports as she gives a run-down of her picks for the season.

Celtic Dragons
Home: 20th February, 7pm SOLD OUT
Away: 9th April, 4pm

Fans’ favourite Kyra Jones returns to Celtic Dragons after spending last season at Team Bath, strengthening their mid-court options, while Coach Trish Wilcox welcomes Fijian internationals Unouna Afa Rusivakula and Episake Kahatoka as the Welsh outfit look to improve their competitiveness on court this season.

Pamela’s pick: “Goal shooter Georgia Rowe looks like an interesting young talent for Dragons, after she helped her nation to their highest ever finish at the Netball World Cup.”

Hertfordshire Mavericks
Home: 5th March, 7pm (Netball London Live, Live on Sky Sports) Click here for tickets
Away: 23rd April, 6.30pm

Losing the infamous Corbin sisters during the summer break could prove crucial for Mavericks this season, who will be looking to avenge Storm for two defeats at the Copper Box Arena last year. New Zealand World Cup gold medallist Joline Johansson (nee Henry) will provide them with key international experience, while new signing Ella Clark makes a return to netball after spending a number of years in the GB women’s basketball roster.

Pamela’s pick: “At just 17 years old George Fisher looks like a really exciting young player, having worked her way through the England High Performance Programme into a senior NSL squad and showing a huge level of maturity during her progression.”

Loughborough Lightning
Home: 2nd April, 7pm SOLD OUT
Away: 27th February, 6pm

Littered with international experience, the new look Loughborough Lightning squad is one to watch this season. The arrival of Kadeen and Sasha Corbin from Mavericks shows a big statement of intent from them, alongside fellow England internationals Jade Clarke, Ama Agbeze and Hannah Joseph, who made her debut last weekend against Australia.

Pamela’s pick: “After 12 years in the ANZ Championships, Jade Clarke is finally back in the Superleague and will be a strong addition to their squad.”

Manchester Thunder
Home: 16th April, 7pm SOLD OUT
Away: 29th February, 7.45pm LIVE ON SKY SPORTS

Former Yorkshire Jets attacker Natalie Haythronthwaite made the move to Thunder in one of the key transfers of the summer, while 30 year old New Zealand international Liana Leota arrives in the UK to join husband and Sale Sharks player Johnny Leota, completing another strong Thunder squad under new Head Coach Dan Ryan.

Pamela’s pick: “Amy Clinton has made the rise through the England age group squads and is another exciting young player to feature in the NSL this season.”

Team Bath
Home: 12th March, 7pm SOLD OUT
Away: 30th January, 8pm (Super Saturday) Click here for tickets

Head Coach Anna Stembridge made experienced defender Eboni Beckford-Chambers her first choice captain upon signing, joining South African World Cup stars Lenize Potgeiter and Karla Mostert as key new signings as Bath look to return to their former Superleague glory this season.

Pamela’s pick: “The unassuming Karla Mostert made a big impact during the World Cup. She will be key within an experienced Bath side.”

Team Northumbria
Home: 5th February, 7.30pm SOLD OUT
Away: 14th March, 7.45pm LIVE ON SKY SPORTS

A fresh Team Northumbria squad boasts Jamaican World Cup duo Nicole Dixon and Shanice Beckford within it’s ranks, while local player Leah Kennedy returns for a 7th season with the north east side, all of whom will feature under New Zealand’s reigning Coach of the Year Te Aroha Keenan.

Pamela’s pick: “Nicole Dixon has really stamped her mark on the Jamaican squad by gaining international selection.”

Yorkshire Jets
Home: 13th February, 7pm SOLD OUT
Away: 26th March, 4pm

England international Stacey Francis returned from World Cup action and made the move to Yorkshire Jets from Team Bath, adding one of the league’s key defensive players to their squad. Fijian vice-captain Maria Lutua also returns to the Superleague with Jets, having featured for Dragons in 2010, to strengthen their attacking options without Lottysha Cato.

Pamela’s pick: “Lutua has the experience of two World Cups under her belt and will be strong for Jets this season.”

Surrey Storm
After their first ever Grand Final win last season, Surrey Storm will turn to home grown talent in an attempt to retain the league title after adding former Mavericks young gun Sophia Candappa and ex-Bath mid-courter Yasmin Parsons to the roster.

Elsa Wakeman, Francesca Williams and Rhea Dixon step up from the youth ranks to make their Superleague debuts this season.

Pamela’s pick: “Sophia Candappa is a really exciting talent and I am looking forward to playing alongside her for Storm.”

The 2016 Vitality Netball Superleague season kicks off on Saturday when all 8 teams hit the Genting Arena in Birmingham for the first ever Super Saturday event! Tickets for the whole event, including Storm's game against Team Bath at 8pm, are on sale now – click here for info.

Sky Sports will also have LIVE coverage of all 4 games – click here to find out how you can watch.

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