Manchester Thunder’s Kathryn Turner on Superleague: "Only way is up"
Manchester Thunder’s Kathryn Turner is confident that her side will return stronger than ever for next season’s Superleague.
After an exodus of players in the off-season and a shaky start to the campaign, Thunder picked up momentum mid-season.
The two-time champions finished the 2017 campaign on a high, beating five-time champions Team Bath Netball to come third and Turner believes the signs are all promising.
Speaking to Sports Gazette, she said: “It’s been an up-and-down season.
“It was a bit of a tough start because we had a lot of changes and we lost a lot of players and we had a new coach.
“But we’ve grown throughout the season and we’ve come good towards the end.
“I think the only way is up for us now into next season.”
Thunder outperformed a very good Bath side – the Blue and Yellows earned the best defensive record of the 2017 season – winning three of the four quarters in the third-place play-off.
And Turner credited team spirit and Karen Greig’s half-time team talk for helping them see out the win in the second half.
She said: “Such a tough game, but we always expect that against Bath.
“To come away with the win, we’re really happy.
“They’re that kind of team – they’ll never give up and always come back.
“It was good that we could stay together as a team and stick to our game plan and pull away again in the second.
“We just refocused (at half-time) on what we wanted to achieve out of the game and it was all about performance for us.
“Karen was very passionate and reminded us why we were here and why we wanted to win for Manchester.”
Every Thunder goal and steal, every refereeing decision in their favour and every Bath mistake was met with roars from the legion of loyal supporters.
Turner was in particularly stunning form against Bath, landing long shot after long shot with ease and aplomb.
There was certainly something akin to the athleticism and grace of her netball hero – New Zealand shooter Maria Tutaia – in her performance.
She said: “I’m happy with that (performance).
“She is a big inspiration – she’ll just turn and shoot and that’s what I’ve always been taught and I always try and implement.
“But I’m always backed up by my team mates around me.
“They’re always there if I need them and Joyce (Mvula) is always there under the post for the pop so it’s a team effort really.”
Mvula joined the squad as a replacement for Jamaican Marvadene Anderson (visa issues) and quickly formed a strong attacking unit with Turner.
Turner believes the pair’s success is down to their playing styles perfectly complementing each other.
She said: “I think it’s down to the style of player that she is.
“I like to sweep the front and she’s always there at the back so I think we just gelled together straight away.”