15 Jun 2024

Leeds Rhinos Netball 32 Manchester Thunder 68

By Tyler-Sue Chapman

Leeds Rhinos Netball returned to Hull's Allam Sport Centre for their final clash of the 2024 Netball Super League season. After a physical battle out on court against local rivals Manchester Thunder it was the away side that took the win 32-68. Joyce Mvula was unable for selection due to returning home for family reasons with Caroline O’Hanlon missing the fixture due to injury. Emma Magee returned to the squad for the final game of the season after recent injury with Annie James and Millie Veevers remaining part of the match day twelve. 

Manchester Thunder started the game at speed putting the first two goals on the board but a rebound from captain Geva Mentor and precision shooting from Harriet Jones saw the game quickly level at 2 all. Both sides felt the pressure of the derby fixture with the ball falling off backlines, sidelines and miscommunication early on. The visitors took a run of goals after intercepts from mid-courter Amy Cater which saw Thunder take a goal lead. Amelia Hall slotted two away from range for the Rhinos which reduced the gap to two to the delight of the sold out crowd in Hull. An intercept from Kerry Almond allowed the away side to add a further two to their tally, time denied the Rhinos of adding a goal before the first break meaning they entered the break five goals behind, 8-13.

Leota made no changes for the second quarter. A shot from Jones fell through the net reigniting the crowd but Thunder maintained their five goal lead for the first four minutes of play. Intercepts from M.Magee and Mentor ensured the gap stayed at five and errors from the Rhinos allowed the visitors to reach a twelve goal lead 13-25. Vision and quick hands from Howard found Jones under the post and a break in play saw Leota make tactical changes with Millie Veevers entering the court at centre pushing Cassie Howard to wing defence and M.Magee to the bench, Amy Braithwaite also entered the court as she picked up the goal shooter bib which saw Amelia Hall move into the wing attack position. The visitors entered the half time break with a 14 goal advantage, 18-32.

M.Magee returned to the court for the start of the second half in the goal defence position whilst Celyn Emanuel returned to the wing attack bib. M.Magee received the centre pass and found Braithwaite home alone under the post but the deficit remained at 17. The away side reached double the Rhinos points silencing the crowd and the Rhinos were later forced into a held ball call and the deficit grew as the guests continued to find their rhythm. Patience from the Rhinos saw them add to their tally with Jones and Braithwaite slotting shots away. Speed though the court for Thunder saw them reach a 25 goal advantage with four minutes on the clock of quarter three. Hall returned to the court at goal attack making instant impact as she added three goals to the scoreboard. Manchester Thunder led 26-54 at the third break.

Sarah MacPhail picked up the wing defence bib and Zoe Davies moved back into goal defence for the final 15 minutes of play. Thunder continued their winning ways and picked up rebound after rebound whilst in defence they created turnover after turnover. The difference widened and with just under seven minutes on the clock the score was 28-63. Emma Magee made her return to court with four minutes left of the fixture, she slotted away her first super league goal since her last appearance In round 10 with just a minute left on the clock. Mentor earned possession for the home side and Hall slotted a shot away on the buzzer which brought the score to 32-68.

Finally, a huge thank you from all the players and staff at Leeds Rhinos Netball to the home fans who have given phenomenal support all across Yorkshire for the duration on the season. 

Leeds Rhinos netball finish their 2024 campaign in 5th position of the Netball Super League table, narrowly missing out on a spot in the final four play offs. Leeds Rhinos Netball return to the Netball Super League in 2025 following the recent announcement of project 2.0, the leagues first steps towards professionalisation.

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