Top netball Superleague clubs continue to make new signings ahead of the 2020 season
Scotland’s only professional netball club Strathclyde Sirens have re-signed shooter Lynsey Gallagher for her third consecutive season and brought in Aussie Natalie Bright in time for the 2020 Superleague.
Gallagher has 88 international caps and has been part of the national side for over nine years. She has competed in several major tournaments, among them the 2014 and 2018 Commonwealth Games and the 2015 and 2019 World Cup.
The 27-year-old shooter said: “Being a Siren means playing a small part in the bigger picture by continuing to push myself to be the best athlete I can be to contribute to my team and our performances. I also want to continue to inspire, motivate and encourage women and girls to play netball and keep active.”
Bright, however will come from Australia's Western Sting and will feature in the English league for the first time.
She has been part of the Australian national side in the Under-17, 19 and 20 squads from 2013-2017.
She said: “Training at home has been great but I feel I’m ready to take a chance elsewhere as I’m ready to commit to a team.
“Being a Siren represents the opportunity to be a part of a professional sporting organisation, improving myself both on and off the court and making lifelong connections through a sport I love.”
Also on the move from Australia is Leah Middleton who has signed for Surrey Storm ahead of the 2020 season.
The defender was named 2018 Queensland Fusion Player of the Year for her performances with the Firebirds club.
She represented Australia at Under-17 and 19 before training with the Firebirds.
Head coach Mikki Austin said: “I’m extremely excited to have someone of Leah’s calibre join us at Surrey Storm.
“Leah brings not just vast experience from the ANL, but also the experience of competing against and training with the Queensland Firebirds’ Suncorp Super Netball athletes. We’re excited to see how she will fit into our playing group and look forward to what we can achieve together.”
Loughborough Lightning has re-signed captain Nat Panagarry for her fifth successive season.
The England international was part of the bronze medal-winning squad during the recent World Cup. She has also led Lightning to two Grand Finals in both 2017 and 2018.
The 28-year-old said: “We’ve been in the top four now for the last three years and that will always be the goal for the coming season. We are now more consistent as a side and will be looking to push those top teams at the right end of the league.
“Hopefully after the World Cup there will be more sell-out crowds as the more people we can get coming and supporting us the stronger we feel out on court.”
Panagarry will join other recent signings Sam May and Ella Clark.
Head coach Sara Bayman said: “It’s great to have Nat back for another year. After playing in the World Cup with England I’m excited to get her knowledge, energy and leadership back into this group. It’s really important that we have a stable core of players and Nat is an integral part of that.”
In the opening event of the Vitality Superleague, Sirens will play London Pulse. Surrey Storm will battle it out against Welsh side Celtic Dragons and Loughborough Lightning will face Team Bath in February at the Arena Birmingham.
In time for the British Fast5 All-Stars tournament, Manchester Thunder have signed Erin Bell as one of their two all-star players.
Bell has experience with Australia’s national squad at two world championships and captained the team during the Fast5 2014 World Series.
Director of Thunder Karen Greig said: “Erin is one of those netballers any coach would love to work with – passionate, experienced and a proven winner. She defines all-star so I’m delighted to have signed her for this year’s Fast5 tournament at the Copper Box. I can’t wait to see her on court in the Black and Yellow.”
The Fast5 event will see eight teams from the Superleague battle it out over 12-minute matches. The event will take place in October at the Copper Box in London.