THE INTERVIEW | Vicki Oyesola
2023 NSL Players’ Player of the Year Vicki Oyesola is ready to kick on in her career having re-joined Saracens Mavericks in the summer from Leeds Rhinos.
The talented defender was part of the Mavericks pathway in previous years and, after a standout season that saw her tour New Zealand with the England Roses and also be awarded a full-time England Roses contract, the defender is looking forward to going to the next level at Mavericks, alongside some of her England Roses teammates who have also joined the club.
“It’s been really good to be back after England training. It’s been great to get to know everyone and start to build those connections. Being on tour with my future Mavs teammates was great. It’s nice to build those connections whilst your away with your international side as you know you can then bring them back into the club when you return.”
Oyesola is a steely defender who constantly keeps shooters second guessing in the shooting circle. Whilst admitting it was nice to be back home, she also highlighted the sense of community at Saracens as part of her reason for returning to the club.
“The club has a really strong base, especially with the community projects that are going on. There’s the strong link with the rugby side of things and there’s a really strong backing for us, which is brilliant. For me, it’s also really nice to be back in London.”
There’s a fresh feel about Mavericks this season, with four new faces coming through the door and plenty of talent across the court. Oyesola mase no secret of her desire to help the side push on into the play-offs at the end of the season in what is set to be one of the closest NSL seasons in recent memory.
“I’m looking forward to being part of this new team and seeing how we can kick on against those other strong teams in the league. Top four is definitely a personal goal. We want to get back into knockout netball. Obviously, I’d love to win it, but we know it’s going to be a really competitive year.”
Oyesola will have to wait until 24 February to get her first taste of the home crowd in the league and perhaps fittingly, it will come against her old club Leeds Rhinos. She admitted that it will be special to run out and hear her name read out to the crowd when that opportunity arises.
“I’m so excited to get back in front of the home crowd at HSV. There’s always such a great atmosphere there and to have them cheering me and the rest of the team on will be special.”