Mavericks Tri-Tournament Review
It may still be a few months until the start of the Netball Super League season, but Saracens Mavericks got their pre-season campaign underway last weekend, as part of a tri-tournament with Team Bath and London Pulse.
With two 40-minute matches played throughout the day, it was a valuable first opportunity for a new-look squad to gel on the court.
Already twelve weeks into pre-season, Head Coach Camilla Buchanan explained that the trip to Bath was about “putting a marker in the sand.”
With new goals set out for this season with a new look side, the results may look disappointing on paper, but Buchanan explained that it was more about growing as a side at this stage of the campaign.
“We’re all professional athletes at the end of the day and we want to win. However, this was a really useful exercise to see where we are at and try out some new combinations that we’ve been working towards.”
The first match against rivals London Pulse resulted in a narrow defeat, in a match that had “nothing to separate the two sides, as they went toe-to-toe.”
Both sides still have players to add to their rosters, but this competitive match showed that the strength in depth this season could be crucial for the Mavericks.
The Team Bath game though, had a slightly different feel to it. Buchanan admitted that her side “got punished for not coming out of the blocks firing,” as the hosts flexed their muscles.
“Again, we’re building our profile for the season ahead and seeing where we still need to build. It was a big learning curve for us, but I’m still really pleased with some of the work we put out. Of course, there’s still a lot of work to cover still, but we were able to shuffle the pack and give everybody court time, which is crucial.”
A number of players also made their debuts for the Mavs, with Lisa Mather making her comeback from injury, having joined in the off-season, and Ellie Kelk returning to Mavs colours.
Kira Rothwell also made her debut against her former side Pulse, with Buchanan crediting her “outstanding and ridiculously high work rate” throughout the day.
Christina Shaw also made her debut, with U23s starlet Charlie Dadey making her first appearance and impressing as well.
With several new faces and new plans to be implemented, Mavericks will no doubt be better off for the experience of time on court, with attention now turning to the next pre-season outing against Strathclyde Sirens on 18th December.