Netball Superleague round-up: Manchester Thunder thrash Strathclyde Sirens

Caroline o'Hanlon
Manchester Thunder's Caroline O'Hanlon was named player of the match by England head coach Tracey Neville

Manchester Thunder outclassed Strathclyde Sirens as the Superleague returned after the International Quad Series break.

The third round also brought victory for Severn Stars, who dominated Celtic Dragons to get their first win of the season, while Saracens Mavericks continued their resurgent form with a win over Loughborough Lightning and Wasps beat London Pulse.

Surrey Storm pulled off a shock 56-50 win at an error-strewn Team Bath to get their first points of the season.

Game of the week - Manchester Thunder 70-45 Strathclyde Sirens

Sirens arrived at Belle Vue to face early league favourites Thunder on the back of a tight loss to reigning champions Wasps.

Sirens have proven a stern test for Thunder in previous matches, with last season's game in Glasgow going to extra time before the Black and Yellows ran out winners.

But from the first whistle Thunder were in control, with defensive duo Emma Dovey and Kerry Almond suffocating Cat Tuivaiti. However, it was in the centre court and attack where the game was won.

Caroline O'Hanlon at centre was deserving of her player-of-the-match award, seamlessly linking up play from the back of court through to the shooters.

Thunder were especially ruthless in the second half and a disappointing and disjointed Sirens were outplayed.

Coaches' corner - Karen Greig

Karen Greig

Thunder head coach Karen Greig watched her side brush aside Sirens in round three, but how did they do it? Here, the former England shooter talks tactics...

On the gameplan:

"We spent a lot of time this week in training looking at Sirens and our attacking and defensive units were given very specific jobs to do.

"Sirens have a Kiwi-style of defence - in terms of marking and finding space. They have Cat [Tuivaiti] in attack and you never know what she's going do, so we had to make sure we shut down her options if she was outside the box."

On changes during the game:

"We had an idea of who we wanted to bring on court and what impact we wanted them to bring with Sirens being physical in defence.

"And to expect Kathryn Turner to run at that intensity for the entire game was a really tough job so we have the luxury this year of bringing on Ellie Cardwell at that goal attack position.

"Ellie is a big body in attack and can shoot from anywhere and is a different kind of threat - Turner has a good ability to sweep from the front and has good timing coming into the circle, while Ellie is a physical force."

On Joyce Mvula:

"Last year we added to Mvula's game, her movement and ball distribution has improved - that's key now as she's not just a holding shooter. She's able to open up space in the circle and create a new rotation, so she is a threat all round.

"It will be difficult for any team to turn around and say 'this is how we are going to shut her down' because of the different elements she has now got to her game."

Champagne moment - Dunn reaches milestone

Wasps
Wasps tweeted a message to Rachel Dunn after she reached 200 appearances in the Superleague

Rachel Dunn was the hero when England pulled off a memorable win over Australia in the final game of the Quad Series and now the evergreen shooter has celebrated her 200th appearance in the Superleague - Wasps' win over Pulse at the Copper Box.

The 36-year-old, who is in her 16th top-flight season, has won seven titles across three teams (Wasps, Team Bath and Surrey Storm).

"It's just another game, isn't it really!" Dunn said. "I focus on getting my job done for Wasps and we're happy to come out with the win.

"I certainly don't have another 200 games in me - but I've enjoyed playing in the 200 so far and I've played with some awesome people and under some awesome coaches. It's been a pleasure."

Results

Friday, 25 January

Saracens Mavericks 64-51 Loughborough Lightning

Severn Stars 57-40 Celtic Dragons

Saturday, 26 January

Manchester Thunder 70-45 Strathclyde Sirens

London Pulse 50-61 Wasps

Monday, 28 January

Team Bath 50-56 Surrey Storm

Superleague table 2019
TeamPlayedWonLostPoints
Wasps2206
Manchester Thunder2206
Saracens Mavericks3216
Team Bath3216
Severn Stars3123
Celtic Dragons3123
Strathclyde Sirens3123
Loughborough Lightning3123
London Pulse3123
Surrey Storm3123

Please note: Wasps v Manchester Thunder round-two match rescheduled to Wednesday, 6 March (19:00 GMT)

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