Manchester Thunder coach on exceptional netball season ahead of Vitality Netball Superleague play-offs

Thunder are heavy favourites to lift the title, facing Team Bath in the semi-finals on Friday followed by the Grand Final at London’s Copper Box on Sunday.

<p>Eleanor Cardwell of Manchester Thunder Credit: Ben Lumley/Vitality Netball Superleague </p>

Eleanor Cardwell of Manchester Thunder Credit: Ben Lumley/Vitality Netball Superleague

Karen Greig maintains there’s even more to come from unbeaten Manchester Thunder in the Vitality Netball Superleague play-offs.

The three-time champions won 20 games out of 20 to top the regular season standings, breaking all league scoring records on the way.

Thunder are heavy favourites to lift the title, facing Team Bath in the semi-finals on Friday followed by the Grand Final at London’s Copper Box on Sunday.

It’s bad news for their three rivals but the north west supremo reckons her side can still improve on their history-making feats.

“I don’t think it ever crossed our mind that we would go through the season unbeaten,” she said.

Manchester Thunder are ready for the play-offs Credit: Ben Lumley/Vitality Netball Super

“There have still been some huge challenges across the season. We’ve had some really tight results that pushed us and that we learnt a lot from.

“People say that it’s good to lose because you learn from losing - which you do - but I think you also kind of build resilience in being challenged by those close games and being able to pull those results out of the bag as well.

“Ultimately that’s something that’s going to happen in those semi-finals so I think the resilience that the team has shown has been fantastic across the year.”

Thunder broke the record for most goals scored in a Superleague game when they smashed Wasps 88-57.

Powered by prolific shooters Joyce Mvula and Eleanor Cardwell, they have posted scores of 80 or more on three occasions, taking the league by storm this season.

Nat Metcalf of Manchester Thunder Credit: Ben Lumley

With 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medallist Natalie Metcalf leading the way, Greig paid tribute to the quality of resources at her disposal.

“I think that what’s key for us is that you look at the backbone of our squad and the experience we’ve got,” she said. “We’ve all been in finals before.

“The girls are buzzing, either way they are constantly asking questions to each other and pushing each other in training.

“As coaches, we’re doing the same and all we can do is put them under as much pressure as possible so when they come to those scenarios, they are able to perform.”

A bumper crowd is set to descend on the Copper Box on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, home of London franchise Pulse during the regular season.

Greig is relishing the prospect - but it’s nothing new after Superleague crowds grew again across the board this season.

“I don’t think that we’ve been to a venue that’s not been a sell out or near enough a sell out,” she said.

“The fact that people are showing up to those matches as well is absolutely huge and hopefully that bodes us well for the future.”

  • Who will be crowned champions? Vitality Netball Grand Final 2022 takes place at London’s Copper Box Arena this Sunday 5 June. Get your tickets here