Manchester Thunder head to Birmingham to take on Surrey Storm
Any match between these great rivals is always hotly-anticipated but this one is set to have added spice, with Thunder out to make amends for their heartbreaking Grand Final loss to Storm last season.
Both sides have had contrasting starts to their 2017 campaign, with Storm seeing off new franchise Severn Stars and Thunder slipping to defeat to Loughborough Lightning.
The Black and Yellows will want to avoid a second defeat and there is no better way to do it than to stop the reigning champions in front of thousands of fans in the West Midlands on Saturday.
Head coach Karen Greig is relishing facing Storm and believes last year’s final loss will not have any effect on her players this week. “We will be approaching this game just like any other game, after doing our homework on Storm from their match last week,” she said. “I think it’s going to be a really close game, with lots of sussing each other out, figuring out strengths and exposing weaknesses.”
This throws up the opportunity for fans to see two new-look teams battling it out on court. But Greig says she expects Storm’s winning ethos will not have deserted them, despite the changes in personnel they have endured. And the same applies to Thunder, who were only beaten once in the regular season (against Storm) last term.
Greig is confident her team can bounce back from the round one loss by believing in themselves and playing with ‘no fear’.
The former England shooter added: “The players have the principles and strategies that if applied the way they are able to they are capable of beating anyone. We certainly didn’t enjoy the feeling of losing last week so I am hoping they remember that and so to push on and take the win.”
Thunder have focused on the positives from their defeat to Loughborough in training this week and are upbeat and eager to right the wrongs at Super Ten. Super Ten is a festival of netball for fans which will also be screened live on Sky Sports, with every Superleague team playing on the same day, at the same venue – The Genting Arena in Birmingham. And Greig says it is events like this that are hugely important for Superleague and netball in the country.
She added: “It is great to have all 10 VNSL teams in one place with the netball community and TV able to see and go live with such a great spectacle. Netball is a growing game and the more we can raise the profile of the game at these events the better. We are all super excited for this event and we are hoping we can reward our travelling Thunder fans with a great performance and result.”
Report by Denise Evans