Leeds Rhinos Netball – October News

We’ve been a little quiet posting to our news page lately. Rest assured, it has been anything but quiet in the background! Trials, trips away, and some brand-new venues launching hubs and classes this term – all in the space of a few weeks! What a busy and massively exciting time for us. And…there’s a very special netballer joining us for some of our half-term classes, too… (One guess who it is!)

Starting with trials, though,  and I have to say how completely blown away I felt this year. Some of the talent the selectors and I were privy to was remarkable; so much so, we’re pleased to have taken many more athletes onto our Elite and Academy programmes this season than originally planned (final squads will be posted on our website soon) – it’s great for the athletes and great for our sport. Our programme is designed not only to assist athletes with their netball but to improve overall fitness, strength and conditioning, giving them opportunities way beyond our game alone. With Leeds Rhinos Netball now responsible for delivering the pathway for Yorkshire, we are confident in helping those prepared to put in the hard yards now to progress through to top-level netball.  Whilst a handful of our U19 and U17 trialists were unlucky not to progress through from final screening, each has been provided with formal feedback they can use to re-assess their game and make improvements for club or next year’s trials with Rhinos.

Onto our Hub programme next, where we had big plans this year to expand further across Yorkshire to offer even more U15/U13 athletes access to high-quality netball training on a weekly basis. Due to popularity and it’s being something of a flagship, the Leeds Hub is trial-based and it was amazing to see almost everyone in our initial round successful in gaining a place. Athletes can still try out so if you’re interested, contact info@leedsrhinosnetball.co.uk to arrange your trial session. Bishop Burton, another long-established Hub, started as it left off last term – very busy!! – and our three new Hubs in Bradford, Doncaster and Wakefield are all off to a flying start with numbers growing weekly. You can sign up to these four Hubs at any time with places currently available at each one. Our Hayfield School (Doncaster) Hub is offering two FREE taster sessions for all new players and you will not want to miss this Friday’s session, 19th October, as we have a very special guest coach, England Roses and international league player, Natalie Haythornthwaite! It’s her first in a number of Rhinos sessions this Autumn and will be an absolute cracker with Nat on the court! There’s no need to book ahead of Friday’s session, just come along.  See venue details and times for all of our Hubs, including Doncaster, online here

Mini Netball has also recommenced and kicked off early September with a brand-new class at Woodhouse Grove School. We’ve had some great feedback from our coach and our players to say this has been lots of fun and we already have people asking to sign up for block 2 which starts after the half-term break! Our regular sessions at Beckett are also up and running again, where we have restructured our age groupings this term to accommodate even more players. If you’re unsure whether Mini Netball will suit your child, our classes are aimed at young people yet to experience netball in primary school, or those who have and simply want to play more in a fun and inclusive environment. Take a look at our website for more details; better still, come along for a taster session before signing up and see how much fun it can be!

Speaking of half-term, we’ve some amazing options at both ends of the netball scale. First, our Fun Camp for our 8-14year olds who want to spend their break from school on court (and who would blame them?!). What’s extra special this time is having the Roses’ Haythornthwaite on hand at Wednesday’s session to inspire our players with her skills and stories from playing netball the world-over. Book for four days to get the most out of the camp AND gain a great deal! Sessions run from 10am-3pm and all your child needs is a packed lunch, drinks and runners. Too easy! Come Friday, it’s no rest for Natalie as she runs our Masterclass for those who are completely netball-focused. 13-16year olds already playing netball at club level and looking for a day’s valuable training would do great to book on – and do so now as spaces are filling fast! We’ve also two other day camp options the following week at Gateways – one a Fun Camp, the second for Minis. In short, we have netball for all abilities and ages this half-term!

Back at HQ, it’s been extremely busy for Rhinos Rugby too, with the Foundation scooping a prestigious award at the Rugby League’s annual ‘Man of Steel’ event recently and the women’s team competing in the first ever Grand Final. It’s great to see those in our wider family achieving major milestones and we continue to feel super proud to stand beside them as Rhinos.

I could speak at length about my recent trip to Australia with Leeds Athletic Netball Club – perhaps its best saved for its own update another time! What I will mention here is the positivity surrounding netball in Oz. The community engagement from schools and clubs, plus the support they receive at games whether they’re grassroots or performance, is really impressive. No wonder many of our own players – including the likes of Natalie – aspire to play down under. The best place to start your journey is at home, of course. So, if you’re already playing then well done to you because you’re on your way. For those still to pick up a netball for the very first time, why not do so this half-term at one of our sessions and see how much fun it can be? You’ll find everything you need to know regarding our holiday classes online here!

Anna Carter

Director of Netball

A First Birthday Gift for Leeds Rhinos Netball

Here at LRN HQ, we could not be more thrilled with last week’s news from England Netball we’re to deliver next season’s pathway for the Yorkshire region.

As many of you will know, we set our sights on a Superleague franchise when our operation began in July last year. Twelve months on, although we are not quite over the line, the pathway puts us a huge step closer to our goal whilst we help prepare athletes in our region to become England-ready.

Our athletes are much a part of this journey and we understand there are many questions from our community and beyond. We encourage you to attend our Information Evening being held next Tuesday, July 24, at 6.30pm at the Emerald Stadium in Headingley – book online here.

For those unable to make our event, we will continue to keep you informed of any updates through emails, social media and on our website.

To read the official press release from our parent organisation, Leeds Rhinos – including comments from Director of Leeds Rhinos Netball, Anna Carter – click here.

Leeds Rhinos Netball announces new Ambassadors

Leeds Rhinos Netball has been given a huge boost with the announcement that Leeds Rhinos star, Ashton Golding, will become an Ambassador for the club.

The Rhinos full back has shown a keen interest in Leeds Rhinos Netball and was a guest speaker at their launch event back in July 2017. His connection with them has now progressed further and the Leeds born player has now agreed to become an Ambassador, to help inspire all the athletes involved at Leeds Rhinos Netball.

Golding, who came through the Rhinos Academy to make his debut in in 2014 aged just 17 said he is thrilled to have been asked to be an Ambassador of the team.

“I am honoured to take up the role as an Ambassador for Leeds Rhinos Netball. This is an exciting time for the netball in Leeds, with more opportunities for people to get involved. Leeds Rhinos Netball are doing great work through their Academy to develop young players and hopefully this will help them achieve their ambition to secure a Superleague franchise in the near future.”

Leeds Rhinos Netball also revealed their netball ambassadors Jessie Ducker, Erin Hodgkiss and Georgia Pexton, who are all from the High Performance Academy.

All three athletes are in the Loughborough Lightning U21 Squad, and Georgia is also in the Roses Academy U19 Squad and was Vice Captain of England U17 last year at Netball Europe. Georgia and Jessie have both been national schools champions. Erin has toured New Zealand with her school squad. These athletes will be heavily involved with the development of Leeds Rhinos Netball and will attend events, where they will help out or coach the younger athletes.

Speaking about the new Ambassadors, Anna Carter, Director of Netball for Leeds Rhinos Netball, who selected the three players said:

“All three of these athletes operate at a very high level of netball, and are great role models for the younger athletes, with their work ethic and commitment to the sport and their team mates.”

The Netball team have had their first few fixtures, which have been great experience for these athletes many of whom haven’t played at this level. Carter added

“The U15 and High Performance Academy travelled to London last week to play a threeway fixture against Wasps and London Pulse. Our Academy athletes are getting an excellent set of wrap around support for their programme, drawing on the professional expertise and experience of Leeds Rhinos.

“With netball on the rise nationally, with participation figures rising and the profile of the national game through the recent Quad series, the upcoming Commonwealth Games and the Superleague season underway, we are proud that Leeds Rhinos Netball is progressing so well. The ultimate ambition remains to secure a Superleague franchise.”

Leeds Rhinos Netball have recently run successful prestige workshops and a half term camp which received great feedback. Events are being run all the time, including coach education, learning from the success of Rhinos Coach Education. All these activities, including the Prestige Workshops for U13s, can be seen here on our website.

There will also be a Boot Camp for the summer, in August, where again, the standard will be high and the quality of coaching will be excellent for this perfectly timed ‘pre-season’ camp with a residential option that is always great experience.

Leeds Rhinos Netball – Update on York Hub

We are deeply disappointed to announce that our York Hub will be unable to continue into 2018.

Due to low demand in York, we are only running one Hub every other week. York University have allowed us to book their facility alternate weeks so far, but they are unable to continue with this arrangement from January 2018. We considered moving the Hub to train every week, but we are unable to get a quality coach for a weekly session. We have considered alternative facilities, but in the time available have not been able to secure this.

We are bitterly disappointed about this, because we have been working with the university and local schools to encourage more athletes into the programme so we can run more Hubs, make better use of the facility and fulfill the netball ambitions of Leeds Rhinos Netball and York University.

Athletes are able to transfer to another Hub if  they can – but we appreciate this will be hard for many due to the distances involved. We are committed to York and North Yorkshire and the county’s future netball stars – we look forward to being back in the future.

New role at Loughborough Lightning for Anna Carter

We are delighted that Director of Netball at Leeds Rhinos Netball, Anna Carter, has been offered and accepted the additional role of Director of Netball for Loughborough Lightning’s Vitality Netball Superleague side.

Loughborough led the Superleague table at the end of the 2017 season and she will be working with an amazing range of national and international players in the run up to and after the Commonwealth Games.

We have always said it is important that our Leeds Rhinos Netball developments are led by someone involved at the very top of the game – and this is an exceptional opportunity for us all.

Anna will be combining her SuperLeague Head Coach role with continued involvement to drive the Leeds Rhinos Netball programme and coach the Leeds Rhinos Netball High Performance/U17 Academy.

She will be supported in the delivery of our programmes by a series of coaches – including Head Coach Maggie Birkinshaw, who will also continue to work alongside Anna at Loughborough. Jan Hemsley, Loughborough U21 coach and Leeds Athletic Northern League Coach, and Gerry Plant, former NI netball star and former Yorkshire Jets Team Manager are the other coaches in the Academies.

Coaches at the Hubs remain unchanged, and we will share more about our other coaches in the coming weeks.

Our programmes get underway

Leeds Rhinos Netball programme have got underway with trials for our U13, U15 and U17 Academy.

We had 170 girls trialling for 70 places from across Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, the North West and North East.

The quality of those trialling was excellent – current National Academy athletes, players who took part in the 2017 National Academy screening, members of the NPL winning Loughborough Lightning U21 squad, plus players from national winning age group teams Tameside and Oldham.

Our Training Hubs across four locations have also started positively with numbers being driven by the top down maintaining high standards.

The first Academy sessions on Monday took place with Gerry Plant, assistant coach to the Academy U13s and U15s; Jan Hemsley, U17s Leeds Rhinos Academy assistant coach, and Beccy Lewis as guest coach from Surrey Storm.

Introducing Leeds Rhinos Netball

A new and exciting venture for netball in Yorkshire and beyond is being launched as rugby league club Leeds Rhinos and their charity, the Leeds Rhinos Foundation, commit to supporting the country’s most popular women’s team sport.

Leeds Rhinos Netball will deliver training hubs, camps and workshops across the region and beyond with the ultimate aim of securing a Superleague franchise.

Rhinos rugby league stars will come together with more than 150 netball players, parents, partners and coaches from across Yorkshire and beyond for the formal launch on Thursday (6th July).

As well as working as part of the Leeds Rhinos family, Leeds Rhinos Netball is exploring links with Leeds Beckett University and hoping to establish a long-term partnership.

Gary Hetherington, Leeds Rhinos Chief Executive, said:

“At Leeds Rhinos and the Leeds Rhinos Foundation we recognise the values of netball. There are clear synergies – the family friendly approach, the competitive sport played in good spirit, the commitment from athletes to be the best they can and inspire others.”

“That is why we are getting involved, stepping up our interest and promoting Headingley and Leeds as being a centre of excellence which we hope will support to the sport’s highest competition return to this great county.”

Last year, Yorkshire Jets – the Superleague team which had represented Yorkshire – was not awarded a franchise for the current competition. Some of those involved in Jets are involved in this new venture, bringing their expertise and experience to the partnership, and are committed to bringing Superleague netball back to Yorkshire.

Leading Leeds Rhinos Netball will be the former Yorkshire Jets head coach, ex-international player and current England technical coach Anna Carter. She said it’s an exciting moment for the sport:

“I’m incredibly excited to have the opportunity to lead Leeds Rhinos Netball and grateful to Gary and his team at Headingley for recognising the potential of netball at both a performance and fun level.

“Leeds Rhinos Netball will have two linked but independent aims – firstly, to run the best possible performance development opportunities to improve netball skills, expertise and passion and, secondly, to build towards becoming a Superleague franchise bringing the top-level competition to the region that netballers in Yorkshire desire and deserve.

“I can’t wait to get going so we can achieve both of these.”

Leeds Rhinos Netball will be working closely with the Leeds Rhinos Foundation to support their aim of changing lives through sport.

Bob Bowman, the charity’s Chief Operating Officer, said:

“The Leeds Rhinos Foundation has an incredible track record in sports development, performance and engagement with communities and schools. It is an outstanding model that develops rugby league and we will now be extending that approach into netball, offering opportunities in the most popular female sport this country has to girls in Leeds, Yorkshire and beyond.”