Written by Grace Gunn
The Netball Super League returns this weekend as Severn Stars travel to the Motorpoint Arena to face Saracens Mavericks in the opening round.
Stars will take to the court on Saturday, February 11 with the first centre pass taking place at 14:30.
The Worcester based side last faced Mavericks on an opening day back in 2020 however the side fell just short but will be hoping to kick off this season with all three points as they did in 2022.
After an off-season of recruiting, the Stars franchise have formed an exciting squad, consisting of a mix of youth and experience.
Building up to the season, Jo Trip’s newly formed side have taken on some preseason friendlies in order to form connections and regain fitness.
Defender Jess Haynes, formerly at Loughborough Lightning, believe the squad have utilised their preseason effectively and insist they’re ready for the first fixture.
“I think we’ve done really well, we’re all really excited. It is a new team, but we’ve gelled really well, training’s been hard, but we’ve all got stuck in 100%.”
“We’ve got this saying this season – one in all in – and I think it’s a real motto for us this year, we give our 100% no matter what that is on the day.”
She added: “We’ve got our different combinations, seeing what works, putting what we’ve practised into play.
“We’re really excited for the season and to show you all what the new Stars are.”
The first test for Stars comes in the form of head coach Trip’s former side – Mavericks. Also set to face her former team is centre, Gabby Marshall, who holds the captaincy position for Stars this season.
Despite falling to two defeats against Mavs last season, Stars put up two valiant performances, however Haynes insists the franchise have turned a new leaf this season.
“We want to go out there and show what we are, show that we’re not the ‘old’ Stars – we’re completely brand new.”
“I think we want to up step people a little bit, I think people won’t really expect what we have got coming so we want to put our mark out there and really take it and grab it.”
After finishing in fifth, just below the playoffs, last season, Mavs reinforced during the offseason, recruiting the likes of New Zealand international Lisa Mather and South African defender Monique Reyneke-Meyer.
The Hertfordshire based side were also able to retain players such as the clinical shooter, Ine Mari-Venter, who converted 423 goals last season.
New head coach Camilla Buchanan will be hoping her side kick off the 2023 campaign strongly as they look to push on and go one step further than last season.
As for Stars, despite facing a strong side Haynes believes Stars’ biggest competition is themselves, as they must focus on their own game.
“We’re feeling confident, feeling ready and raring to go. We’re focused on what we’ve got to do.”
“We are going to analyse and see what they’re [Mavericks] going to do but mostly we focus and learn and do what we do.”
The opening weekend kicks off live on Sky Sports with Stars taking to the stage on Saturday, February 11 at 14:30.