Severn Stars Head Coach, Jo Trip, is confident that her side can give any team in the Netball Superleague a run for their money as the countdown to her first season in charge begins.
With a new look team, which features only two returning players, Trip believes her side’s unknown quantity status can play to their advantage come the beginning of the season.
“Absolutely it’s an advantage,” she said. “We’re definitely a strong team and will definitely push teams, and top teams, really far. I’m hoping we will take some of these teams across the season. We have a team able to deliver and I’m excited to see what they achieve. We’re focusing on us and other teams will have to suss us out.”
Stars, which is owned by the University of Worcester, face Saracens Mavericks at the Season Opener at the Motorpoint Arena in Nottingham on Saturday, February 11, followed closely by an away match against Surrey Storm on February 13. Apart from defender and former student of the University of Worcester, Lucy Herdman, and shooter Issy Eaton, now a current student at the University, the rest of the side will be new faces to Severn Stars fans. It is a combination of well-known names from the Superleague, including former England Roses squad members Gabby Marshall (as Captain) and Jess Shaw, and former South African international Sigi Burger, alongside young up and coming talent.
“Our goal is to continue to grow as a team throughout the season, making sure each performance is better than before and I’m sure that the results will follow,” said Trip, who will be in a player/coach role. “We’re definitely capable and we have showed that we can score. We’re trying to strengthen our shooters. We have got a lot of options in the shooting circle and all over the court.”
“Our team is very versatile,” she added. “I only have one player that plays just one position. This means there’s lots of combinations and lots of ways round which they can go. It’s what me and my coaching staff think works best.”
Serious training began in early November and, despite the advantages of a “new era” line-up, this also presented challenges.
“The first eight weeks were a big learning curve for myself and a number of players,” said Trip who is in her first season as coach. “We had a number of players who were pretty new to a high level environment. But, from their time off over Christmas, everyone has come back fit and refreshed. The girls have smashed it. It showed me that they have been putting in the hard work. We’re finally at a stage where it needs to be at training to be successful when you take to the court. To see the girls pushing each other and thriving in the last couple of weeks has been great.”
The first home game at the University of Worcester Arena is against Strathclyde Sirens and takes place on Saturday February 18.
Lerverne Barber, Head of the School of Sport and Exercise Science at the University of Worcester and a Director of the Severn Stars, said: “We are excited as the final countdown to the 2023 netball season begins to see what the team can achieve this season. We hope our students and the local community take advantage of the opportunity to see topflight sport on their doorstep in the coming weeks and get behind the side for what are bound to be some thrilling encounters at the University of Worcester Arena.”
For tickets or more information visit www.severnstars.co.uk.
Photos from clivejonespr.com with thanks.