Leeds Rhinos Netball is delighted to announce the appointment of Marion Lofthouse as our Head of Selectors. Marion joins us with a wealth of knowledge achieved over a career in netball which spans several years and includes time spent playing internationally, as well as coaching technical defence with the England team, as Head Coach for Northern Ireland and coaching teams in the domestic Superleague.
Over the years, Marion has worked with an array of international players and is renowned for her understanding in terms of talent identification and further, in educating coaches and selectors on this process. At Rhinos, Marion will work with Pathway Head Coach, Emily Perry, to identify talent and select players into the Rhinos Performance Pathway at multiple points throughout the season, while also responsible in ensuring selection procedures are implemented with consistency and in a transparent, robust manner. Marion will attend trials and lead a team of selectors through the trials process, and lead on the education and training of selectors throughout Yorkshire.
Rhinos’ Director of Netball, Anna Carter, said “Myself and Emily Perry are delighted to have such an iconic figure like Marion Lofthouse educating and working with selectors throughout the region to help identify the next generation of players to represent Leeds Rhinos Netball. Marion has quite a collection of players she has supported on their journey towards International netball – the likes of Tracey Neville, Karen Grieg, Natalie Haythornthwaite and Karen Atkinson – and I could go on for quite some time”.
Marion will be leading on the first set of Academy Trials for Leeds Rhinos Netball’s 2019/20 season, for U13 and U15 athletes, at Hayfield School, Doncaster, on June 8 & 9.
March. Already! Where to start on what we’ve been up to?
How about we kick off with an update on our progress in the NPL – and what an absolutely cracking season so far for Rhino’s U19 team! This year’s ‘new kids’ and yet currently sitting in 2nd place in the league! The past few weeks have seen two hard-fought losses away to Pulse and Wasps and a couple of strong wins against Mavericks (a replay) and on Saturday, against Team Bath. At home, things could not have gone better with two comprehensive wins in front of almost capacity crowds at the EIS (61-34 against North East) and Beckett (61-43 against Severn Stars). Rest assured, the team will be going all out for success in our remaining games, starting with our final one at home on March 30th at the Uni of York; you can read more on this game in our latest press release here and make sure you grab your tickets to come and cheer us on!
A couple of weeks ago, I was asked by the Rhinos Foundation to comment on International Women’s Day; you’ll find the full write up online here. It’s so important to recognise the effort many females have to put in to be heard in sport. Although I can’t help but think every day is a celebration, when I’m privy to examples of inspiring and committed females right in front of me, week in, week out – from athletes in training sessions, weights rooms, and playing their matches on court, to the coaches and volunteers who love our game and inspire our players to be their best.
In terms of the pathway, we’re just past the half-way mark this season now and, at times, it’s hard to fathom just how far we’ve come this six months. Participation has grown massively since then; to give you an idea, our training Academy had around 80 athletes during the 2017/18 season; this year, we’re up to 180 athletes across our U19,17,15 and 13 Academies. And that’s before we look to the community, where things get really interesting! Last year our weekly training hubs – which are an additional forum for players wanting to improve and reach the performance level – were running in Leeds and Bishop Burton; now, we’re now hosting five in total with Barnard Castle, Doncaster and Wakefield accommodating another 60 plus players. In our Minis classes, which have grown from sub 20 junior aged girls to close to 100 at four regional venues across Yorkshire. That’s an incredible stretch in participation! You can imagine how proud I feel of everyone who’s been involved in making this happen.
Also in the community, we’re being asked more and more to visit schools across the region, state and independent. Over the coming weeks, we’ll be supporting a tournament at Carr Manor school in Leeds, plus a second at St Margaret’s Higher Education college in York. Whether it’s the pupils who need a hand, or the teachers who want educating on the game to deliver a better session for their players, our own Rhinos Netball coaching team are happy to help when available; just send us an email if you’d like to discuss how we can help with this type of initiative: email@example.com
Our Prestige workshops are now back in full swing with our first this March having focused on the GA/GS relationship and including plenty of tricks and tips for inside and outside of the D. Whilst guest coach, Dan Ryan, was unable to deliver the session as planned, we continued on with our own Pathway Coach Emily Perry and just shy of 40 athletes were able to gain much from her experience with England Netball, Team Bath and more recently, Leeds Rhinos. If you’re a mid-court player, keep your eyes peeled for details of our next Prestige event on April 26th.
Finally, we took a trip to the Emerald Stadium this month which was out of this world! Over 80 of our netball athletes made it along on the back of our invite from Gary Hetherington and team at Rhinos Rugby, and what to say… Wow. Just. Wow! Being invited onto the pitch ahead of their game against Wakefield Trinity was an enthralling experience for all of us, especially our younger Minis! It makes us realise how big a family we are these days, and what strength this gives us as a netball club. Thank you again, Rhinos Rugby and the Rhinos Foundation, for making these opportunities happen!
Keep your eyes – and ears (via podcasts like Netball Nation!) – on alert for more news on Leeds Rhinos Netball; as well as our website and Twitter feed.
And… if you’re not watching the Superleague this season, you should be! It is ALL happening at the performance end of domestic netball, an area we’re doing everything we can to be a part of next year! Watch this space, Yorkshire!
All rested and raring to go? Five months into our programme, a firmly established Academy, higher participation at our training classes and several match wins later, you bet we are!
Before we plow forward, it’s a good time to take stock on our journey from September to now, with a great deal having happened during those few months since England Netball awarded us the Pathway last summer. Of course, our number one task back then was to very quickly formalise and embed an Academy programme to attract talented netballers to compete nationally on behalf of the Rhinos. We’re really pleased with all we have achieved here, not to mention humbled by the 200+ athletes who train with us and choose to represent our club. The Rhinos Rugby squad often talk about the pride which comes from being a Rhino and our netball athletes can feel equally as proud as their rugby peers.
Speaking of pride, our match play season could not have started any better with some fantastic on-court action reflecting all of the hard work happening at training week on week. We’ve had quite a few game opportunities for our Academy and Elite squads, with some great results and learning to bring back to base camp, and we’re looking forward to more in the second half of the season. It does feel as though the wind’s in our sails currently, which is all we could wish for ahead of our first ever Home game this February. On that note, we would love your support at the EIS in Sheffield on the 9th when we take on North East. Tickets are free – all you need do is register online here to reserve your seat and come along with your cheering hat on!
Coincidently, February 9 is also our first ever Coaches Conference – again, at the EIS – where we’re partnering with Yorkshire Netball and the UK’s most successful domestic coach, Tamsin Greenway, to deliver a session packed with technique, tactics, game analysis and more. On top of the educational benefits you’ll find this session provides a fantastic opportunity to network with like-minded peers from within your region and beyond. In short, if you’re coaching a team and want to learn from our industry’s best, this is a must-attend session. We currently have spaces available so, if you plan to join us, sign up here today and it’s job done.
Now, you’ll appreciate our world is one on a permanent tilt towards netball but it has to be said, there is a slight feeling of ‘netball fever’ at the minute. Undoubtedly, the Roses’ Comm Games Gold win started things off and netball has been gaining in momentum ever since; not one but TWO wins at this year’s SPOTY spoke volumes on how we’re currently seen by the wider sporting community. It certainly appears the Roses are on the crest of a wave right now, with their performance in the recent Quad series one to be proud of and placing them in great stead for this year’s World Cup! Superleague is well underway and we’re all watching with a keen eye, hoping we’ll be there competing against these amazing athletes next season with our very own Rhinos team! Besides the national activity, there’s more happening locally with podcasts like Netball Nation coming to the party; where lead coach Maggie Birkinshaw and I were pleased to share our thoughts on the current state of play earlier this month.
Back at HQ, we have plenty to celebrate aside to our match results – like U19 NPL competition squad members Laura Kelly and Nat Karkoszka being selected for British College, and our own Pathway Coach, Emily Perry, asked to help England Futures with the Quad Series preparation and warm-up games against the Diamonds, Silver Ferns and SPAR Proteas. We recently recruited our first ever Netball Development Officer and are extremely pleased to welcome Rachel Dauber to the Rhinos family. Rachel will be driving our programme’s expansion into new areas across the region to increase participation in netball – or, should we say, further increase participation since wherever we turn – Pathway, Hubs and Minis classes – our numbers are well and truly climbing. With this in mind, we are on a quest for volunteers to help us form a Talent Management Group to manage our ongoing growth and set some policies in place for delivery; it’s open to anybody, whatever their netball experience, and you’ll find details of the types of roles we need to fill on our website here.
Well, we did tell you it’s all systems go this year!
Anna Carter, Director of Netball
Here we are in November, a whole three months since we were asked by England Netball to deliver the formal pathway for the Yorkshire region. Talk about busy bees! Since our trials – which now feel a lifetime ago – we’ve successfully run a series of half-term camps and masterclasses, established our Academy groups from U13 up to U19, expanded our regional Hubs and Minis classes (all of which are growing in numbers week on week) AND we’ve had our first fixtures! All this, plus an extremely well-received coaches’ education class week delivered by ex-Roses player and one of the UK’s most successful players and coach, Tamsin Greenway! We’ll provide a full report on this session in the coming weeks; in the meantime, keep your eyes peeled for some amazing video footage of Tamsin and the coaches in action being released shortly…
Speaking of video, for anyone who missed our recent Rhinos TV clip filmed when Roses player Natalie Haythornthwaite ran our Doncaster hub one Friday evening, here it is again https://youtu.be/NuWldJ27NCY It was great to see similar footage appearing on our local BBC and ITV news channels too, helping to spread the good word on our nation’s fastest growing female sport. Nat was always going to have an impact on our younger players and we’re thrilled to say how participation at this Hub and others in the region have increased since her visiting Yorkshire.
Elsewhere, I am delighted to welcome Emily Perry to Leeds Rhinos Netball as our first formal head pathway coach. Emily comes with an envious track record and will be a great addition to our team. A big thanks also to Francine Hall for her recent interim role as our pathway coach prior to Emily’s arrival. Francine’s experience has been vital to our smooth transition from Yorkshire and she helped us enormously with coaching during the initial days of our programme.
I am also delighted to welcome Diane Guy and Lee Davis into their roles as Hub coaches for Wakefield and Leeds respectively, and extremely pleased that Jo Hodgkiss has taken on a new role leading our U19/17s Academy. You’ll find our list of coaches and their credentials on our website here. It gives you an idea of the range, depth and breadth of the coaching team we have in place, which is brilliant in itself and of huge benefit to our athletes.
Whilst we formally announced our Academy and Elite Squads this month – here’s the media release, in case you missed it – in reality, our athletes have been training hard since September in preparation for this season’s fixtures. We’ll be announcing our U19 NPL competition squad over the coming days so watch this space! You will, of course, be kept up to speed on all of our fixtures, particularly the home games, where we encourage spectators to come and cheer us on!
We’ve also been busy promoting Hubs to engage with athletes across a wider range of locations, and the numbers at each continue in the right direction – upward! We’ve had a growing interest in our Mini Netball classes too, which is fabulous since it introduces girls into the game during primary school. We have spaces available at both our Hubs and our Minis classes, with some offering a free introductory taster session; you’ll find more information on all of our classes on our Hubs and Minis pages.
Next week’s review meeting with England Netball on 3 December is an exciting prospect for us all, to ensure we are making progress with our performance pathway delivery. This includes a visit from the former England U19 coach and current head of England’s performance pathway, who will be observing Emily as she coaches an U19 Elite session, as well as discussing our programme in full. We’re proud of all we’re doing to make our game accessible to more young people and the feedback we have received to date on the programme has been nothing but positive. We’re confident on more of the same if we stay focused, determined and hard-working; and thanks to all of you, our followers, for the support you’re giving us on our journey together – it means a lot.
Director of Leeds Rhinos Netball
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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!
Director of Netball
What a cracking summer we’re having at Leeds Rhinos Netball! We couldn’t be more pleased with how everything is panning out – camp participation is on the rise, we have current athletes on the Leeds Athletic tour ‘down under’, and then there’s that small matter of our being awarded the Performance Pathway for Yorkshire… Plenty to celebrate!
Speaking of the Pathway, the sign up for forthcoming trials on September 8/9 has been phenomenal. Bookings have been open for a week and already, we have around 200 athletes keen to join the Rhinos family to continue their netball journey. There have been many questions from our community in terms of days/times for the Academy and Hubs moving forward; please bear with us whilst the finer details are set in stone and in the meantime, do read through our FAQs since many answers to your queries can be found therein. NOTE THIS NOW INCLUDES TIMES FOR EACH AGE GROUP TRIAL!
Our recent 4-day Summer Fun Camp at Gateways was a huge success, with Tuesday the clear winner when we hosted close to 60 aspiring netballers for the day. As well as picking up game skills, our campers also benefit from the many social skills which sport can offer, from working as a team to following instructions and much more. Many of our campers told us how eager they were to continue with netball after the summer break which speaks much for the programme and our top-level coaches, who are paramount to our running a successful camp. Hats off to all who came along to assist or to play.
We’re now mid-way through the summer break, and there’s still so much more to look forward to with not one but TWO of our camps remaining! First, our 4-day Boot Camp and Fun Camps at Woodhouse Grove School, running 20-23 August. There are still a few residential places available and more again for day campers. Either option is perfect for game preparation for the season ahead; Boot Camp, in particular, is recommended for those planning to try out for our U15 or U13 Academies this September – and with top performing coaches like Jan Helmsley, Rachel and Jess Shaw, Paul Harper and our very own Anna Carter, it will prove a boost to any player’s development. Full details and booking forms are on our website – note that bookings will close mid next week so, if you’re keen, get signed up quickly! http://www.leedsrhinosnetball.co.uk/events/summercamps/
At the younger end, our Minis camp at Gateways school on August 28-29 also has availability. Aimed at 6-10 year olds it’s perfect for whether your child is continuing with netball or playing the game for the first time. Information and your booking form can be found here http://www.leedsrhinosnetball.co.uk/events/netball-minis-camp-gateways/
We’ll have lots more to share with you as the month continues, including stories from the LANC tour to Australia which several of us were lucky enough to be a part of!
Leeds Rhinos Netball
It was a full Lewis Jones Suite at the iconic Emerald Stadium in Headingley on Tuesday evening, as Leeds Rhinos Netball presented their vision for the 2018/19 season at the club’s Information Evening.
People from within the netball community and beyond turned out to hear how next year’s programme delivery will look in practice, since the club having been given the nod from England Netball to deliver the sport’s performance pathway for Yorkshire.
Led by Rhinos Foundation Trustee, Mariana Pexton – who kicked off proceedings with a now infamous video clip of the England Roses’ winning Commonwealth Gold this year – several key stakeholders from within the Rhinos family had the opportunity to explain what this means for netball within the Yorkshire region and also for the club. CEO for Leeds Rhinos, Gary Hetherington, spoke of the club’s history and long-standing objective for increased community participation, a goal it clearly shares with the latest addition to the organization. Another video followed, presented by the Head of Community for Leeds Rhinos Foundation, Gareth Cook, which showcased the fantastic work the Foundation delivers within the community. Rhino’s first team player and current Ambassador for Leeds Rhinos Netball, Ashton Golding, was next up and spoke of everything it means to be a Rhino and, ultimately, the pride gained through wearing a Rhinos shirt.
Leeds Rhinos Director for Netball, Anna Carter, with assistance from Pexton, took her time to explain how the pathway will look in terms of the provision of performance netball, access points, and the participation structure moving forward. Whilst much of the detail is still being finalised, the dates for next season’s trials were amongst the items Leeds Rhinos Netball gave some clarity – those being 8&9 September 2018 – with further details to follow during the forthcoming days and weeks as to the full application process.
In the short-term, a series of Frequently Asked Questions has been posted on the Leeds Rhinos Netball website: http://www.leedsrhinosnetball.co.uk/frequently-asked-questions/ Athletes, parents and teachers are also encouraged to sign up for news updates at http://www.leedsrhinosnetball.co.uk/enewsletter/ and to follow Leeds Rhinos Netball on Facebook and Twitter.
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.
As Leeds Rhinos Netball approaches its first birthday, having launched on 8th July last year, we can honestly say it’s been a massive year for all things netball! Here, we’re taking time to reflect on some of the main developments and highlights from this past twelve months.
The pinnacle has to be England’s winning the Commonwealth Games Gold, beating Australia by one goal in their own backyard, in a game that had everything including the dramatic finish which showed sport at its absolute best! Netball fans would do well to follow the Australia and NZ domestic leagues, as well as the Vitality Super League in this country, to stay tuned in on happenings at the very top of our sport.
Since the Commonwealth Games, it’s fair to say netball is much more prominent in the news – as is women’s sport in general – with a number of campaigns helping to drive participation in netball and asking for spectators to show their support, too. Here are a few articles on recent campaigns and occurrences in our sport which are well worth a read:
The Sky Netball and Women’s Sports Trust campaign #ShowUp (encouraging participation in a range of UK women’s sports) https://englandnetball.co.uk/showup-campaign-launched/
A campaign in Australia, Wake Up to Netball, which is proving effective in getting fans out to watch live games: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-05-04/sue-gaudion-wake-up-netball/9725944
Closer to home, here’s an article about the development of the Vitality Netball Super League https://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/2018/05/22/premier-league-football-clubs-could-hold-key-netballs-future/. Note that some of the top English Super League clubs like Wasps are now drawing in big audiences, as are the games played at major arenas such as Manchester and London Live.
And here’s an example of one of the many close games in the Australian league which you would NOT have wanted to miss, an intense 2-goal difference match played recently between West Coast Fever and GIANTS in front of a crowd of 8000+! http://westcoastfever.com.au/News/fever-topple-giants-in-two-goal-thriller
Back home, we had a superb week of fun camps in Blackburn and Leeds over the spring break, with three Commonwealth Gold medalists appearing to coach and inspire athletes plus other top coaches helping our athletes to learn new skills. Both received some great feedback from our athletes; here are some snaps of everyone enjoying camp with amazing role-models Beth Cobden, Jodie Gibson and Nat Haythornthwaite.
We have more exciting camp options this summer starting with our residential/non-residential Boot Camp at Woodhouse Grove. This camp is open to a range of ages and abilities, with excellent coaches, and is a perfectly timed pre-season prep. We also have three Fun Camps across the north in Leeds, Blackburn, and Calderdale, for 8-14-year-olds wanting to improve their game, plus a camp for our Mini netballers aged 6-10 years.
There are still places available at all camps so if you’re interested, get signed up fast at http://www.leedsrhinosnetball.co.uk/camps/
On a final note, we held a successful coaching event at the iconic Headingley Stadium recently, coaching more than 100 athletes in netball alongside our fellow rugby coaches who were helping similar numbers with rugby skills. What a great day, and fantastic to see plenty of new talent emerging!
As ever, we will keep you posted with developments throughout the remainder of the year.
Director of Netball