New Squad Leadership Initiative
Sara Bayman will front a five-strong group, with fellow England international Laura Malcolm and new Kiwi signing Liana Leota her co vice-captains.
Attacker Natalie Haythornthwaite and centre-courter Gabby Marshall will also be part of the leadership team, as Ryan aims to improve his players’ personal development and leadership skills.
The idea is something the 31-year-old is passionate about and believes that ‘successful teams pride themselves on strong leadership’ and ‘the five athletes that form the leadership group are all very natural in this area’.
Ryan, who will take charge of Thunder in his first Superleague game at the end of the month during the Super Saturday event in Birmingham, said: “I felt it was important to have a leadership group consisting of athletes who share my passion and genuinely understand what being a leader in a team environment is all about. It was equally important to have a group of leaders that were keen to grow and evolve in this area. I want to challenge them all to really discover who they are as leaders and help the steer the direction of this team.’’
Bayman, who will skipper the England Roses in the forthcoming tri-Test series against Australia, is an experienced captain and one of the most senior members of the squad. Leota and Malcolm will stand beside the 31-year-old as two equally experienced players, to provide a formidable captaincy trio for the season ahead. “Between the three of them, they offer a really diverse skill set, a wealth of experience and are all very unique in how they go about their leadership. So collectively they form a really powerful trio and I’m really keen to see how much of an impact they can have on each other and the overall team, ” added Ryan. He continued: “Bayman’s very unassuming in many ways but always takes care of business, even when no one is watching while Malcs’ teammates feed off her and she absolutely loves her club, so in many ways she captures what it means to be a member of this franchise. Liana’s at the stage in her career where she really wants to give back and she’s certainly doing that with us. Marshall and Haythornthwaite are two of the country’s most promising players and both expressed interest in taking up more responsibility within the Thunder set up.”
On his young stars, Melbourne-born Ryan said: “By giving them the opportunity to work alongside our three very experienced captains, it is great for their personal development and the future of Thunder. Nat is such a student of the game; she loves it and is so keen to better herself in all departments and Gabby is a talented leader in her own right and has such a mature outlook for someone so young.”